LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – This time, there was no Disney magic for Florida State.
Friday night, the Seminoles used a pair of last-second shots to beat No. 21 LSU and advance to the AdvoCare Invitational Final.
Sunday, the No. 13 FSU men’s basketball team (5-1) battled defending national champions Villanova (5-2) to the wire, but were unable to come out on top, falling 66-60 to the Wildcats in Sunday’s championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational at the HP Fieldhouse in ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex,
FSU led for just four minutes and 13 seconds against Villanova but never trailed by more than eight points.
“Villanova did a much better job of playing to who they are than we did,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“I didn’t think we had the same level of execution. You’ve got to take your hat off to them. They did a much better job of playing to their strengths than we did ours.”
Despite the season-low scoring total, it was a balanced scoring attack for the Seminoles. All 10 players that checked in made at least one shot by the time there were 10 minutes left in the game.
The FSU bench accounted for 33 of the team’s 60 points and only Mfiondu Kabengele and Trent Forrest got to double digits with 11 points each.
It wasn’t the start FSU was looking for. The Wildcats opened up a 12-4 lead just over five minutes into the ballgame.
From there, FSU buckled down defensively. Villanova had just two points over the next 9:01 of the game and had just 14 points over the final 14:47 of the first half.
It wasn’t an offensively efficient half for the Seminoles, who finished the opening 20 minutes without a made three-pointer and hitting just 39 percent of their shots.
Still, they went into the half down just one at 26-25.
This was in large part due to FSU’s ability to force turnovers — eight in the first half — and pound the offensive glass.
The Seminoles finished with 13 offensive rebounds that they turned into 17 second-chance points.
“Leonard’s one of my favorite guys in the (business) because of how tough his teams play,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said.
“We thought at halftime we were doing a great job defensively, they had 25 points and 10 points on offensive rebounds. They just kept grinding, kept battling.”
Defensively, the Seminoles took away the Wildcats’ three — a crucial aspect of their offense — as they made just three of 14 (21.4 percent) from outside the arc.
However, the difference in the matchup was that the Wildcats converted on seven of their 11 layup attempts while FSU was 13 of 24 on layups.
“I think that we worked very hard trying to not allow them to get those 36 threes that they normally take and I thought our guys were successful doing that,” Hamilton said.
“They made the adjustment by now driving the lane, finishing at the basket. We did a very poor job of containing them defensively once they attacked us (on the) interior.”
Villanova’s Collin Gillespie found the most success against the Seminoles, scoring 17 points on seven of 11 shooting.
What We Learned
One of the more crucial moments of the game turned on a new rule this season.
With FSU trailing 48-46 and 6:07 left, FSU senior Terance Mann seemed to draw a foul while trying to come down with an offensive board.
However, a review from the officials deemed that Mann would be assessed a flagrant foul for the hook-and-hold penalty where a player hooks an opposing player’s arm to prevent them from moving.
It’s a new foul being enforced this season and one Hamilton didn’t know about before Sunday’s game.
“I didn’t know that was something that was going on in college basketball because we never use it, we never teach it,” Hamilton said.
“That’s what they say they saw so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that it was exactly what happened.”
Villanova hit the two ensuing free throws and made a layup on the possession afterward, turning a two-point game into a six-point game in mere seconds.
FSU tied the game up just once more after that moment and never retook the lead.
Making the Free Ones
FSU didn’t earn many free throws early in its matchup with the Wildcats. It took just three free throws in the first half and 17 in the game.
The team did make the most of these opportunities, however, making its first five shots from the charity stripe and finishing 13 of 17 from the line (76.5 percent).
For the season, the Seminoles are now shooting 75.7 percent on their free throws.
Slow Start From Three
The three-pointer has been such a critical shot for FSU this season, but they had to go away from it against Villanova.
Hitting 39 percent of their threes this season entering Sunday, FSU’s first three against the Wildcats didn’t come until more than two minutes into the second half.
FSU averaged 7.8 made threes per game in its first three games, but finished its first loss of the season with a season-low three made three-pointers on 12 attempts.
The string of tough games doesn’t stop yet for the Seminoles. They return home and will welcome in No. 19 Purdue (5-1) in one of the final games of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge Wednesday night at 9 p.m.
“We’ve just got to get over this one and get ready for Purdue,” Mann said.
“Don’t let this one get us down.”
No. 13 Florida State vs. No. 19 Purdue
ACC/Big 10 Challenge
When: Wednesday, 9 p.m.
Where: Tucker Civic Center
TV/Radio: ESPN2/103.1 FM