Florida State was back in the Tucker Center after about a week off of regularly scheduled games. The Noles were set to face the Louisville Cardinals which were listed as the worst team in the ACC, garnering an 0-8 record prior to the game. It was FSU’s chance to grab their second win of the season and take advantage of home court. The Seminoles did just that with a 75-53 victory over the Cardinals, led by a great defensive performance.
Player of the game: Cameron Corhen had a phenomenal game for the Noles, scoring 15 points on 4-8 shooting, while grabbing five rebounds. The true freshman has been a great energy booster for the Noles, being able to contribute on both ends of the floor.
The Seminoles started the game with Jalen Warley, Caleb Mills, Darin Green Jr., Matthew Cleveland, and Naheem McLeod.
Cleveland was the first to drop in a bucket for the Noles, punching in a three just seconds into the game. Florida State had a 7-3 lead when head coach Leonard Hamilton subbed in his first rotation piece, Cameron Corhen. Mills started the game 3-3 from the field, extending the lead to 9-3 at the first timeout.
Louisville found success penetrating the paint on back-to-back plays, cutting the deficit just be before Tom House had a four-point play which lit up the crowd. At the 12 minute mark the Seminoles were leading 20-9 behind nine points from Mills. FSU had a decent offensive showing up to this point, but their defense forced the Cardinals to 4-11 with five early turnovers.
Mike James from the Cardinals plugged into two quick threes when he entered the game, keeping Louisville within a friendly distance. Despite their efforts to stay in the game, Mills and Corhen took over the court and propelled FSU to a 29-15 lead with 6:04 remaining in the first half. Mills had 11 points on 5-6 shooting and Corhen had six points and three rebounds. Green was having a quiet night, but finally found the bottom of the net with a three ball to keep the pushing the lead.
The Noles were riding a scoring drought of over two minutes when Louisville hit the gas and scored six unanswered points to cut the lead 34-24. Missed layups were the biggest issue on the offensive end, and they kept letting UL’s guards walk into the paint to keep them chances to come back.
Florida State went into the locker room with a 36-24 lead. The Seminoles were shooting 40% from three and 42% from the field. They led in the rebounding and blocking category, but didn’t have the best half in terms of assists. One of the major positives was FSU not allowing a single free throw from Louisville, which was vital to keep the clock running.
Louisville started the half pressing the Noles, but that didn’t stop Warley from getting right to the basket to score two. The Cardinals connected from distance on their first shot attempt of the half. Both teams were exchanging shots when the Noles headed into a timeout up 43-30 with 15:29 left in the game.
The Cardinals took their first free throws of the game at the 13:57 mark of the second half, which shows incredible discipline from the Noles. After flirting with a 20 point lead, FSU started to get lazy on the defensive end with help defense and gave up a couple easy baskets in the paint.
FSU had three freshman in the game at the halfway point, giving House, Chandler Jackson and De’Ante Green great opportunities. The Seminoles got that 20 point lead with 10 minutes remaining and it looked like the Cardinals were slowly losing hope for a comeback.
Florida State held a 63-41 lead with 8:14 left. Warley was serving as the lead ball handler, setting up Corhen, House and Cleveland to easy looks. Cleveland got the crowd on their feet with a reverse dunk on a fast break and the rest of the guards on the floor scored quick buckets after that to give FSU a 71-48 lead.
The freshman kept rolling in for the Noles with less than three minutes remaining, including a couple walk-ons. This had to be a great feeling for the coaching staff and the entire team, giving the rest of the lineup some rest. The Noles concluded the game with an entire lineup of walk-ons.
Next game: The Noles get another favorable matchup at home on Tuesday, December 13th. They’ll face USC Upstate at 8:30 ET. The game will be featured on the ACCN.