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FSU storms back as Cards fold in second half

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A second-half comeback for the ages. A night as loud as ever at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

The streak stands – in dramatic fashion.

Trent Forrest scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime, and No. 6 Florida State rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat No. 11 Louisville 82-67 on Monday night.

The Seminoles (24-4, 14-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved past the Cardinals into first place in the ACC. They lead Louisville and No. 7 Duke by a half-game.

What did this game, and a season sweep of the Cardinals, say about the Seminoles?

“That we’re here and here to stay,” Forrest said. “We’ve been on the up and up basically since my freshman year. We’ve been going out each night and trying to get the respect that we deserve. We just have to keep building on it.”

Patrick Williams’ thunderous dunk put an exclamation point to a 15-0 run that put the Seminoles ahead for good. Florida State outscored Louisville 50-27 in the second half and extended its home winning streak to 22 games.

Florida State made the most of its second-half run when the starters were on the bench. Guards Anthony Polite (eight points) and RayQuan Evans (four points) were productive on the offensive end but also stifling on defense in sparking the rally.

“We have been winning games all year with the quality of our depth and our ability to play good defense for long periods of time,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Said Louisville coach Chris Mack: “They make it hard. There’s no let up in their team. We knew that. The fact that he can just continue to bring guys in and they play just as hard.”

Devin Vassell and M.J. Walker each scored 12 points for Florida State, which set a school record for ACC regular-season wins with three games remaining in the 20-game schedule. Vassell scored 10 points in the second half.

Ryan McMahon scored 14 points and Jordan Nwora had 13 points and eight rebounds for Louisville (23-6, 14-4), which went more than nine minutes without a field goal during one second-half stretch.

“We battled,” Mack said. “I thought their pressure, although it might not have turned us over, kept us on our heels. We handled it for the first 20 minutes. 

“Just didn’t keep up the pace in the second half.”

Trent Forrest’s dunk was an exclamation point on FSU’s win. (photo by Mike Olivella)

TUCK TALKING POINT

The Cardinals were red-hot from the floor in the first half, shooting 51.6 percent, but cooled off to just 32.1 percent in the second half. The Seminoles shot 50 percent in each half and overcame nine first-half turnovers.

WITHOUT WILLIAMS

The Cardinals played short-handed most of the night after junior center Malik Williams injured his left foot minutes into the game. He returned to the bench with a boot on the foot. Mack said Williams has a “twisted” ankle and his timetable to return is unknown.

SOLD OUT

Florida State had its fourth sellout of the season, with 11,500 fans filling the Donald L. Tucker Center. 

“We’re giving people a little taste of the medicine that we get when we go on the road,” Hamilton said. “And I keep saying that’s what the doctor ordered.”

Bill Murray was here. Cinderella story?

UP NEXT

Florida State will play at Clemson on Saturday.

FORREST ON THE GAME

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Comments

  1. Dan Densmore Reply

    Wow..that was badass…Noles never flinched..really fun to watch

    • Bob Ferrante Reply

      Incredible second half. And against a top-10 team.

      As loud as we have ever heard the Tuck.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      I was sitting baseline right where forest slammed over their big man. The Tuck was on fire Tonight!
      that is the loudest I can remember.

      After the game I saw Irv Thomas who is a scout for Los Angeles Lakers and has seen Florida State numerous times over the years. He loves this team and believes It can go deep in the NCAA tournament.
      knock on wood final four deep.
      This team has an answer for just about any question an opponent poses.
      Unselfish. Fierce. Talented. high morale.

  2. Dan Densmore Reply

    I concur . Bonus that Bill Murray was there..

  3. christopher coombs Reply

    M.J. Walker had a really good first half to get it under 10 by halftime. Three different shots he made for baskets and one looked like a prayer. He looks like he’s ready to roll through March.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      He’s really a valuable piece of the puzzle and has been battling through injuries. It’s not the NBA but the ACC is a gruelling 20-game test for the players, many of whom are 21 or younger.

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