It felt like a nice Sunday unfolding. The Florida State basketball team had yet to secure an ACC road win, but the hapless, last-place Boston College Eagles awaited, as did NFL playoff games. And sure enough, the losing stopped: BC’s five-game losing streak is no more after an 87-82 win over the Seminoles.
Early on, things looked beyond promising for the ’Noles. Coming off a 2-22 three-point performance at Pitt, FSU was stroking the long-ball early, sinking 5-11 in the first half. The problem was that the Eagles, who came in as the worst long-range shooting team in the conference, were also 5-11 at the break, led by Ky Bowman.
Bowman kept Boston College in the game early, making his first seven shots and his first four tries from beyond the arc. Still, he’s a top-three ACC scorer, and surely Florida State would adjust so that his 18 first-half points — half of BC’s 36 points at intermission — wouldn’t be replicated after the break.
All in all, things were fine. FSU used a 12-0 first-half run to push to a 15-point lead, and turned the ball over just thrice in the first half, a turnover rate of only 8.3%. The Seminole advantage at the half was a comfortable 46-36. Sunday funday.
Then the second half began with a 21-4 Boston College run. And your happy little Sunday ended. BC stymied the ’Noles in the second half, employing a zone defense after made baskets. And there were plenty of those for the Eagles, who made 8-10 treys in the second half to finish 13-21 (62%) from deep. Going zone was basically Boston College betting that FSU wouldn’t continue to convert on its own threes the way that it had in the first half.
And it was a wise bet. The ’Noles hit just 3-14 from downtown after halftime, regressing back to 32% for the game, about what they entered the game shooting from distance. If it wasn’t for Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State would have gotten embarrassed in this one (kind of like this BC squad was humiliated when it lost home games to IUPUI and Hartford earlier this season). Kabengele was 6-9 for 17 points in the second half, as part of his team-high 26 points. The rest of the Seminoles combined to shoot 6-24 after the break, with no other player making more than one shot.
Defensively, FSU was never able to slow down Bowman, as the typically reliable Trent Forrest has seen the entirety of his game affected by injury, and Phil Cofer did not play at all, due to a foot issue. Bowman dropped 19 in the second half to finish with a game-high 37 points on very efficient 13-18 shooting. But the real spark for the Eagles was Jordan Chatman, who drilled 5-6 threes after the half. The Seminoles continue to struggle containing the dribble drive, which means others have to help, and that opens up the trifecta.
BC (10-7, 1-4) didn’t just come back in this one: it very nearly ran the ’Noles out of the gym, leading by 14 with 6:55 remaining. But Florida State scrambled at the end, pressing and creating some turnovers to reduce the final gap to the same five-point margin by which Boston College topped St. Francis in the same building.
And now, for the second straight weekend, FSU gets just one full day of rest between games, a span that once again involves a long flight. The Seminoles (11-5, 1-4) will host Clemson (11-6, 1-3) on Tuesday night; the Tigers have been off since Wednesday.