Playing for the second time in three days, Florida State overcame a hot shooting North Florida Ospreys team, pulling away for a 95 to 81 victory. With the win, the Seminoles improve to 10-1 on the season.
Both teams started out hot from the field. The Ospreys, in particular, were scorching the nets early on, going 11-15 from the field and 4-6 from beyond the arc in the first 10 minutes. In fact, UNF jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before the ‘Noles kicked it into higher gear.
For their part, FSU shot 50% from the field in the first half and a total of nine players scored a basket in the opening 20 minutes. Unlike, UNF, the Seminoles once again struggled from three, going just 2-12. Despite this, Florida State led 46-39 at intermission thanks to a remarkably low turnover rate.
Coming into the game, FSU ranked 318th in turnover percentage. But on Wednesday night, the Seminoles’ first turnover didn’t occur until the 6:03 mark of first half and the men in Garnet and Gold went to the locker room turning it over on just 2.9% of their 35 possessions.
The second half started with a noticeable uptick in intensity from FSU and they quickly reeled off a 10-2 run that was capped off by a beautiful diving steal at mid-court by Trent Forrest that was saved into the waiting arms of Terance Mann. Mann and M.J. Walker then executed a perfect give-and-go resulting in a one-handed alley-oop for the senior from Lowell, Massachusetts.
From there it seemed as if the blowout would commence. Florida State, throwing waves of bodies on the court, quickly extended the lead to 21 by the under-12 timeout. At times it looked more like a dunk contest than a basketball game, with the Seminoles throwing down 11 rim shakers during the game. However, the Ospreys were undeterred and battled back to just a 10 point deficit with 6:10 to go in the game. JT Escobar did much of the damage, scoring 27 points on just 9 shots, including 6-6 from deep.
However, down the stretch FSU re-asserted their dominance and pulled away for the victory. Redshirt sophomore Mfiondu Kabengele led the Seminoles with a career-high 24 points and added 7 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Trent Forrest had his best game in a while with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 7 assists against 0 turnovers.
UP NEXT: Florida State faces a top-100 St. Louis squad at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL on Saturday at 2:30.