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Inside the box score: FSU basketball routs No. 7 Louisville

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The ‘Noles should be inching closer to the AP top-10

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Trent Forrest played his best game of the year on what to date has been the biggest stage. In the post game, head coach Chris Mack said, “I thought our guards got manhandled” and much of that credit goes to Forrest. FSU repeatedly ran him through baseline action and multiple screeners to get him the ball in good position to attack. Pack line defenses are built to keep drivers out of the paint, yet Forrest got there seemingly at will. He made 8-10 2s on his way to 20 points. He also had five assists, and is now tied with Luke Loucks for 9th all time at FSU.
  2. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of having MJ Walker return from injury. In addition to his tough, physical defense on Louisville’s perimeter players, he had a great game shooting the ball. It was the 5th time in his career he’s made at least five 3s in a game. He also made 4-6 2s and finished with 23 points, one shy of his career best.
  3. Jordan Nwora torched FSU for 21 points in the first half. But he didn’t do it alone - Louisville’s guards did a great job of getting inside the Seminoles defense causing it to collapse, and then found Nwora on the perimeter. In the 2nd half FSU went all in. The face guarded Nwora for the entire 20 minutes, and dared Chris Mack to adjust. Even knowing Nwora’s defender wasn’t going to help on any drives or post moves, Louisville was unable to capitalize due to FSU’s length in the passing lanes. Nwora stilled scored 11 in the 2nd half which is a testament to his ability to do damage off of broken plays and on the offensive glass. But his teammates were unable to carry the load in half court sets.
  4. One of the problems with playing small is that it exposes Florida State on the boards. Louisville stayed in the game by grabbing 46% of their own misses (19 offensive rebounds) which is the worst defensive rebounding game for Florida State since a loss to Duke in 2017. Five of the 19 were blocked shots recovered by Louisville, which skews the data a bit, but it’s not like FSU isn’t used to having blocked shots turn into opponent offensive rebounds. FSU is now 3rd in the nation in block%. In conference-only games they’ve blocked 23.6% of opponent 2s, while the next closest team is under 15%.
  5. FSU won 78-65 in a 65 possession game. The 1.20 per possession scored by FSU is the most Louisville has allowed this year. FSU made 60% of their 2s, while no other team has converted even 52% vs the Cards this season. It was the 3rd straight win for Coach Hamilton over Chris Mack.