Florida State (9-6, 8-6 ACC) defeated No. 3 Louisville (20-2, 13-2 ACC) by a 68-59 score this afternoon in Tallahassee, FL.
The game was tight early as both teams traded baskets. Florida State scored five straight points with a three from Tiana England and a jumper from Bianca Jackson. However, the Cardinals answered with an 8-0 run to end the quarter and they took a 17-14 lead into the second quarter.
UL extended the run to 10-0 with a pair of free throws from Elizabeth Balogun. From there the teams mostly traded baskets until FSU made a move at the end of the quarter. The Noles ended the half on a 7-0 run courtesy of Morgan Jones who scored all seven points. FSU took a slim 28-26 lead into the second half.
However, Louisville fought back. The Cards opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 33-30 lead. Later in the quarter the Cardinals took their biggest lead of the game at 39-32 with a jumper from Olivia Cochran. The Noles answered by scoring seven of the last eleven points of the quarter to cut the UL lead to 43-39 going into the fourth quarter.
The teams started the fourth quarter exchanging baskets. However, FSU made a move midway through the period. The Seminoles hit UL with a 9-0 run that was sparked by a Kourtney Weber jumper. Hailey Van Lith broke the run with a jumper for the Cards but FSU still enjoyed a 54-49 lead. There were only about 2 and a half minutes left in the game and Louisville was pressing and trapping FSU all over the court. Jones hit a pair of free throws and FSU broke the pressure in fine fashion finding Valencia Myers open for a layup that put the Noles up 58-50 with 1:38 left in the game. From there it was a free throw contest. FSU iced the game by going 10-12 from the line down the stretch to earn a massive 68-59 victory.
Morgan Jones led FSU with a clutch 26 point, 10 rebound double-double. Kourtney Weber chipped in with 14 points and five boards.
Florida State only shot 31.7% from the field (3-13, 3PT). However the Noles still gutted out the win by holding Louisville to 35% from the field and a putrid 3-20 from deep. The Seminoles also won the rebounding battle 45-41.
This win over a top three team was obviously huge but let’s count the ways.
- It gives FSU another Q1 win. The Noles are now 3-6 in Q1 games. If you are wondering why the Noles were still good bets to make the Tourney even with a loss today the answer is that FSU is 4-0 in Q2 games and 2-0 in Q3 and Q4 games. In other words FSU has no bad losses.
- FSU is now 8-6 in the ACC which ties them with Syracuse for fourth place. However, the Noles beat the Orange on February 11th (67-52) so FSU owns the tie-breaker for fourth place. This is critical because it gives the Noles the last double-bye in the ACC Tournament if they can hold on to fourth place. Of course this assumes that the ACC Tournament bracket will be constructed like it has been in the past. It is possible that Covid could change things.
- FSU got torched 84-56 by Louisville in the last meeting. However, this game proves that FSU can beat the best teams in the sport even when not shooting particularly well. This should do wonders for the team’s confidence.
- This win gives the Noles the signature resume win that they were looking for this year. Before this game FSU’s best NET win was over Virginia Tech (#27). Louisville is ranked fifth in the NET.
FSU is now 5-2 against Louisville since the 2016-2017 season.
Florida State won this game with grit and grind. It was a defensive effort along with the brilliance of Morgan Jones. Of course it is easier to play well at home but this game may very well be what it takes to springboard FSU to an impressive finish to the season. We will find out on Thursday if that happens.
Florida State will travel to South Bend, IN on Thursday to meet the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-8, 6-6 ACC). The game will tip at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.