In just the second game of the season, Florida State prevailed over a tough Indiana Hoosiers team 69-67. The 20th ranked Seminoles moved to 2-0 on the season, while IU drops to 3-2.
Indiana sharpshooter Al Durham was a surprise addition to the Hoosiers’ lineup after being listed as “doubtful”. However, it was RaiQuan Gray and Scottie Barnes who came out of the gates hot. The pair combined to give FSU an early 8-2 lead, but IU was able to tie it up at 8 by getting to the free throw line. In fact, FSU had 5 team fouls at the under-16 timeout.
After the opening minutes, FSU’s defense settled down. The Seminoles’ length and pressure forced the Hoosiers to initiate offense 35 feet from the basket, generating several deflections and rushed shots. The ’Noles had an opportunity to stretch the lead after a series of one-and-done stops on defense, but simply couldn’t get open looks to fall. This became a trend for most of the night. Finally, Sardaar Calhoun gave the home team a 16-13 lead on a deep three just before the under-12.
From here, FSU felt “in control”, but couldn’t really put its foot down.
Gray was everywhere in the first half, even coming up with a Devin Vassell-like steal from help-side defense that led to a bucket on the other end. Balsa Koprivica took advantage of Indiana’s relative lack of size down low and scored on several nifty moves.
But the Seminoles still couldn’t pull away, leading by anywhere from two to six points throughout the final 10 minutes of the half. Indiana obviously deserves some credit, as the visitors shot above their season average at all three levels. Florida State’s propensity to foul also helped the Hoosiers hang tight.
In the end, FSU essentially did everything necessary to be up by double digits at half time other than making shots. The ’Noles turned it over on just 12.5% of possessions, while grabbing 45% of their misses. Meanwhile, they turned IU over on more than 25% of the Hoosiers’ possessions. But Leonard Hamilton’s squad made just 13-35 shots in the first half, compared to 11-25 for IU. Therefore, instead of having a comfortable lead, the Seminoles settled for a 33-31 advantage at the break.
Indiana came out of intermission with a clear plan to pound it inside to future NBA player Trayce Jackson-Davis, and it succeeded. FSU racked up 5 fouls in the first 5 minutes, allowing the Hoosiers to take a 42-40 lead.
From there the game became a grind. All the pace and action from the first half disintegrated, as neither team seemed able to establish any flow or rhythm. Indiana was consistently bothered by Florida State’s positional size, but the Hoosiers paraded to the line, as Seminole defenders were late and/or over-aggressive.
On the other end, FSU looked like a team playing its second game. The ball stuck far too long on the perimeter and when guys were able to get good looks they struggled to knock them down. M.J. Walker buried a corner three to break a 42-42 tie, and it appeared FSU might create some separation. But the Seminoles couldn’t take advantage of multiple opportunities to extend the lead, particularly hampered by poor free throw shooting, and Indiana grabbed a 50-48 lead.
A block by Gray led to a run-out dunk by Anthony Polite, knotting the game up at 50. But Indiana went right back to the charity stripe to take a two-point lead, once again. Polite and Barnes split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 52, but Indiana took a two-point lead right back with a long jumper just before the shot-clock expired.
A couple possessions later, Malik Osborne scored his first points of the game on his first shot of the game, nailing a three-ball to give FSU a one point lead. But it, too, was short-lived. Indiana, not known for its perimeter shooting, answered with a three after FSU dropped back into a rare zone look, giving the Hoosiers a 57-55 lead at the under-4 timeout. To that point, FSU was just 7-17 from the free throw line, compared to 17-23 for IU.
On cue, Walker hit a pair to tie the game up at 57, but IU got an easy dunk at the other end to regain the lead. Osborne stepped up to make a pair of freebies himself, and the game was 59-59 with under three minutes to play. The Seminoles badly needed a stop, and Gray delivered with excellent defense underneath the basket, but the ‘Noles couldn’t connect on the other end.
The teams traded empty possessions until Jackson-Davis tipped in a missed three with 1:04 left in regulation, giving him 20 points and IU a 61-59 lead. After a lengthy official review, FSU drew up a play to get Walker an open look at the top of the key, and the senior buried the three. Indiana then made 1 of 2 free throws to tie it at 62 with just under 50 seconds left.
Barnes missed a contested layup with 26 seconds left, but Polite came up with a huge offensive rebound. Walker had a good look from 15 feet but the ball rimmed out, leading to a scrum in the paint and ultimately a jump ball. With the possession arrow in its favor, FSU had one more chance. But Gray’s pull-up 18 footer wasn’t close, and the 2,956 fans were treated to free basketball.
The extra stanza began with Indiana hitting an old-fashioned three point play (by TJD, of course), while FSU wasn’t able to come close to making anything. However, a surprising three from Barnes tied the game at 65 with under three to play, giving FSU a much-needed boost. Koprivica, playing for the first time in what felt like hours, grabbed his own miss on the next possession and went up strong to give the ’Noles a 67-65 lead.
Osborne skied to grab a Jackson-Davis miss with under 50 seconds left, and it looked like FSU might ice it on the other end, but Walker’s banked in three came just after the shot clock expired, giving IU the ball back down two with 17.3 seconds left. Appropriate for this game, Jackson-Davis was fouled by Koprivica with 8.7 seconds left, and the All-Big 10 performer leveled the game at the free throw line.
Enter the freshman phenom.
Barnes, a five-star recruit, took the inbounds pass and dribbled the length of the court, before banking in a floater with 1.8 left.
#BigGuardUpic.twitter.com/CRgqm2F28Q— Tomahawk Nation (@TomahawkNation) December 10, 2020
It looked like a taller version of recently departed Seminole legend Trent Forrest. The Hoosiers desperation heave sailed wide left, and FSU secured its tenth straight overtime win.
The Seminoles also continued their utter dominance at home, having won 25 straight in Tallahassee. On the evening, Jackson-Davis was a monster finishing with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Walker led FSU with 19 points, while Barnes and Gray both played great all-around games. Koprivica added 12 points and a career-high 8 rebounds even though he only logged 21 minutes after fouling out.
This was FSU’s first ever win against Indiana, after losing the previous five contests.