NEW ORLEANS, La. (Seminoles.com)— A trip to the “Big Easy” for Florida State’s first true road game didn’t quite live up to its name, but the No. 15 Seminoles still had more than enough to handle Tulane, 80-69.
In a game that struggled to find flow behind a combined 25 first half fouls and 22 turnovers, Florida State would need to go to its roots in order to remain perfect on the year.
The Seminoles relied on their seniors to ride out the surge of the Green Wave. Senior forward Terance Mann scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds, and senior swingman P.J. Savoy tallied 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting from distance on the night.
Tulane bounced out to an early lead in the contest behind freshman Kevin Zhang, who looked the part of a more experienced player. Zhang hit two 3-pointers to put Tulane up 12-8 with 14:45 left in the half.
Trailing 20-18 with 10:38 in the first half, the Noles called upon their bench for a spark. Redshirt freshman guard Anthony Polite scored off of a feed from Mann to put the Noles up 21-20.
Later in the half, redshirt sophomore forward Mfiondu Kabengele would use a nice spin move to earn a layup and the foul, putting the score at 33-29 with 6:44 to play.
Kabengele impressed again off the bench, proving to be one of the top Seminoles in such a role. He finished with 12 points and four rebounds on 4-for-8 shooting in 21 minutes of action.
With Tulane consistently hanging around in the first half, the Seminoles went to the Leonard Hamilton special to set the tone for the rest of the game — stingy defense.
After Tulane made a layup with 7:33 left in the first half, Florida State held the Green Wave without a field goal for the remainder of the period.
FSU, meanwhile, scored 13 first-half points from 13 Tulane turnovers to take a 39-35 lead at the break.
The Seminoles came out firing in the second half behind a balanced performance by junior point guard Trent Forrest.
Forrest assisted senior center Christ Koumadje on a hook shot layup to put the Noles up six.
On the very next play, Forrest stole a Tulane pass and took it coast-to-coast for a layup. He would then follow finding Savoy on the next play in the corner for three, putting the Seminoles up by 11.
Forrest continued to prove to be one of the best all-around performers in the ACC, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Forrest earned his 17thcareer game with at least three steals and tied a career high with two blocks.
The Seminoles shot 55.6 percent in the second half while holding the Green Wave to just 40.6 percent. Outside of Zhang, who shot 7-10 in the half, FSU locked down Tulane to 6-22 shooting.
A brief Tulane run cut FSU’s lead to nine midway through the second half, but the Seminoles’ used their overwhelming size advantage to pull away.
Forrest would drive to the hoop and use a nice wrap around pass to Christ Koumadje for a near backboard-breaking slam.
Koumadje continued to control the paint, a trait he has brought to the Seminoles for four years. Koumadje finished with eight points, four rebounds and a block in 11 minutes of action.
The Seminoles went on to score their final 21 points from either the paint or the free throw line, putting a bow on top of their first road victory of the season.
Mann put the exclamation point on the night grabbing his 10threbound as time expired. The 20-10 game marked his third career double-double and first career game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Florida State returns home to face Canisius on Monday, November 19 at 7 p.m. inside the Donald L. Tucker Center. The game serves as a campus game for the Advocare Invitational that takes place over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The game will be televised on ACC Network Extra and tickets are available through Seminoles.com.