The Seminoles, ranked fourth in Florida, shocked the world with a 69-59 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, who placed first, making the Noles in the final for the first time since 2012 Florida opened 2019 by losing on the Cavaliers Road, 65-52. The loss marked the start of a 1-4 start in the CAC game for the Seminoles and tonight's surprise offered a magical end to Florida's nightmare.
The FSU kicked off Friday night as Phil Cofer punched the first possession of the Seminoles. The defense also played its role by completely blocking Kyle Guy for the first 13 minutes. However, the big scorers find their way and Guy will eventually find his pace finishing with 11 points. UVA has been able to keep it close largely thanks to Florida State's turnover. The Seminoles returned the ball seven times, giving Virginia ten points in twenty minutes. Mfiondu Kabengele, the sixth man in the state of Florida, found himself in trouble from the start, scoring just two points before scoring two fouls in just six minutes. Kabengele would sit for the rest of the half. The Cavs entered the contest tonight and ranked third at the national level, with 41.4% of the three. At the end of the first semester, Virginia had only 2 to 11, against 4 to 10 for the Noles.
The Seminoles headed towards the second half with a lead of 35-31. Virginia seemed finally to gain momentum by taking a lead of 42-41 with 15:55 to play in the regulation, her first advantage since the mark at 8-7 at the start of the first half. The teams exchanged their buckets and then Florida State scored 13-1 after Ty Jerome scored a goal at 12:01, placing UVA at one point in DeAndre Hunter's free throw for a time of 6:22, leading to 62 -49. The Cavaliers were trying to bring it closer, and Florida State seemed willing to participate in this effort. While the state of Florida had only six goals at 65-59, MJ Walker reversed the trend by scoring a 4-1 save with less than a minute, the thirteenth Seminole turn of the night. UVA was not able to capitalize on missing out of the arc, which led Kyle Guy to place Kabengele on the line of charity, eventually sealing Virginia's fate after the redshirt-sophomore created both. Terance Mann punctuated the Seminoles' performance by scoring his first points of the night with a slam, giving the Seminoles a 69-59 win.
The transfer of Albany graduates, David Nichols, led the Seminoles to general surprise, achieving his best performance of the year with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He would be named the player of the match. The fifth year senior, Phil Cofer added 11 points out of a total of three in three. Kabengele had 10 points and added two big blocks. And main playmaker Trent Forrest also had 10 points, while adding his trademark defense. The senior center Christ Koumadje has just missed his third career double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Overall, the Seminoles had one of their best offensive games, shooting 56% of the field and 38% of the three goals, scoring 1.18 points per possession against a notoriously stingy Virginia defender. UVAs, on the other hand, had attack problems, shooting 42% on the ground and barely slashing 5-24 (21%) of the depth. Florida State stopped Virginia's top scorer, Kyle Guy, from scoring points in the second half.
FSU will participate in the Saturday ACC Championship Tournament Match on ESPN at 8:30 pm. They will face the winner of tonight's semi-final between North Carolina with 2 heads and the Duke with 3 heads.
Terance Mann and Christ Koumadje are now the most successful recruiting class in the history of the former USSR
– Basketball School (@MichaelRogner) March 16, 2019