TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It’s always tough to win on the road in the ACC.
No. 24 Florida State (18-5, 6-4 ACC) outlasted No. 17 Louisville (17-7, 8-3 ACC) 80-75 in an overtime battle of ranked teams in front of a Tucker Civic Center crowd of 11,675 Saturday afternoon.
“That one was tough to swallow,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “Felt like for the better part of the game we did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win.”
Louisville had won seven of its last eight games entering Saturday. The Cardinals fall to 4-2 on the road in ACC play.
The Cardinals let a 10-point second-half lead slip away and the Seminoles tied the game at 65 at the end of regulation.
FSU didn’t waste time in overtime.
The Seminoles scored the first eight points of the period to surge in front, 73-65. It was their first advantage since 23-22 in the first half.
“The first play down we had a set play lob and missed it,” Louisville guard Christen Cunningham said. “Didn’t deliver the ball. From there it was a snowball effect.”
Louisville forward Steven Enoch and center Malik Williams fouled out during the overtime period. FSU turned that into a 6-2 rebounding advantage in overtime.
Louisville knocked down a couple 3s to cut the lead to 75-72 with 45 seconds remaining.
FSU guard Terance Mann made one of his two free throws to extend the lead to four. Louisville guard Christen Cunningham converted a 3-point play with 32 seconds remaining on the other end of the court to cut the lead 76-75.
FSU guard Trent Forrest then knocked down both free throws to push the lead back to three.
Louisville guard Ryan McMahon had a chance to tie the game with a 3, but it bounced off the rim and into the hands of FSU guard M.J. Walker.
Walker was immediately fouled but knocked down both free throws to give the Seminoles a five-point lead with four seconds remaining.
“The same things that we pride ourselves on is what got us beat,” Cunningham said.
“Not turning the ball over. Being tough with the ball. Rebounding. Being the tougher team. It’s a super tough loss for us.”
FSU knocked down 11 of its 12 free-throw attempts in overtime to secure the victory.
The Seminoles’ defense caused quite a few issues for the Cardinals.
Louisville committed 23 turnovers in the game. The Seminoles turned those turnovers into 32 points. They committed just eight turnovers in comparison.
“It’s a really long team,” Cunningham said. “It’s kind of hard to see over them. They have really long arms. They do a good job denying me full court making it real tough for me to get the ball. They did a really good job taking away the first pass in the offense. Keeping us from initiating our sets.”
FSU chips away in the second half
Neither team was able to separate for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but the Cardinals broke through thanks to McMahon.
McMahon knocked down three straight three-pointers to push the Cardinals out to a 52-42 lead with 10:07 left in the game. All nine points he scored came in the second half.
But the Seminoles continued to fight.
FSU cut the Louisville lead to just 60-59 with 2:38 left in the game thanks to a 3 by Mann.
The Cardinals fired right back with a 3 of their own by center Malik Williams to push the lead back to four.
FSU cut the lead to two on a dunk by forward Mfiondu Kabengele. The Seminoles immediately tied the game at 63 with with 1:11 left after FSU guard M.J Walker picked guard Christen Cunningham’s pocket and got the easy layup.
The teams traded free throws and a basket before Louisville started their final possession of the second half with 29.5 seconds left with the game tied at 65.
Louisville forward Jordan Nwora missed a 3 and FSU forward Phil Cofer’s last-second heave rimmed out to send the game to overtime.
Cunningham, Sutton and Nwora carry the Cardinals
Cunningham led the way for the Cardinals with 20 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, though he did have five turnovers. It was his third game scoring 20 or more points this season.
Nwora had just three points in the first half but finished the game with 13 points and five rebounds. He came into the game averaging 17.8.
Forward Dwayne Sutton had 14 points with six rebounds and four assists. He also had a team-high six turnovers.
Teams go streaking in first half
The first half saw FSU and Louisville trading blows back and forth with both teams going on extended runs.
Louisville started the game on a 12-3 run before the Seminoles responded with an 18-5 run. Louisville responded with a 14-4 run to end the half with a 31-25 lead.
Cunningham carried the Cardinals in the first half. He had 13. No other Louisville player had more than six.
The Cardinals return home to the KFC Yum Center to take on No. 2 Duke Tuesday at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.