TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chilly shooting, poor ball security and an inspired second half defensive effort by the visitors put an end to Florida State’s 28-game home winning streak Wednesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Charging back from a 13-point halftime deficit, Louisville recorded its first true road win of the season, 73-69 before a crowd of 10,604.
The Cardinals (12-4, 2-1 ACC) made all the plays that mattered most in the closing minutes after reserve guard Ryan McMahon drilled a 3-pointer to give Louisville its first lead of the night, 64-62 with 4:53 to play. McMahon, who had 11 points off the bench, fed Anas Mahmound for a dunk and a 68-63 lead before a nearly 20-minute delay with 2:34 remaining as arena officials worked to repair the net at FSU’s end of the floor.
“I was saying if we lose this one due to the delay, I’ve seen it all,” said Louisville coach David Padgett, who praised his team’s resilience in the face of 13-point halftime deficit and coming off a difficult overtime loss at Clemson.
Coming out of the delay the Noles (12-4, 1-3) twice cut the deficit to two points on a pair of long Braian Angola 3-pointers, which snapped FSU’s 0-for-8 shooting performance in the second half from beyond the arc. Twice the Noles had the ball with a chance to tie the game or take the lead, only to be denied.
Mahmound blocked four shots in the final 1:26 to turn back FSU’s last threats. McMahon sealed the outcome with two free throws and 1.5 seconds on the clock.
“We lost a very disappointing game,” Leonard Hamilton said. “We made some untimely turnovers that Louisville was able to take advantage of.”
The Seminoles turned the ball over nine time on 32 second half possessions and shot just 30 percent from the floor (8-of-26).
Terance Mann matched his career high with 25 points, including 15 in the second half, when he virtually carried the Noles on his back through their shooting woes against Louisville’s 2-3 zone defense. At one point late in half Mann had 11 of FSU’s 13 points.
“Normally zones don’t give us too much trouble, especially this year, but it did,” Mann said.”It only did because they were hitting their shots and we were coming down and just standing there. We weren’t being aggressive enough. It’s just a learning experience.”
Angola finished with 18 for the Noles, who now face a pivotal home game Saturday against Syracuse at 2 p.m.
“Every game in the ACC is big, but this one, we’ve got to get it,” Mann said.
The Seminoles seemed ready to put their 80-74 Sunday loss at Miami behind them, rushing out to an early nine-point lead against the Cardinals, who managed to pull even, but could not get over the hump. FSU seemingly seized control of the game with a 13-0 run following the under-eight-minute media timeout as the Cardinals endured nearly six minutes of scoreless basketball and trailed 45-32 at the half.
FSU converted 5 of 7 field goal attempts – three of the high percentage dunk variety – during the run and forced three Louisville turnovers, converting those into six points.
Ironically, FSU’s run was spurred by its switch to a zone defense which seemed to compound the Cardinals’ first half shooting woes from beyond the arc (2-of-11). It began innocently enough with a pair of M.J. Walker free throws for a 31-26 lead. The onslaught began in earnest with Phil Cofer’s banked 3-pointer.
Back-to-back Mfiondu Kabengale baskets – the second off a behind-the-back feed from Walker – made it 38-26 and Terance Mann’s runout dunk pushed the margin to 14.
The Noles led by as many as 17 after a Mann 3-pointer with 1:32 to play in the half.
Balance was key to the Noles at the offensive end as Angola led the way with 11, Mann added 10 and Christ Koumadje pitched in eight off the FSU bench, which out-produced the Cardinals 19-6 over the first 20 minutes.