Written by Erik Slaby
(Tallahassee, FL) Wow. What a finish to an exciting game. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Clemson Tigers in overtime, 81-79. Early on, it appeared that the Seminoles would be in for a rough night as they did not hold a lead at any point in regulation. In fact, the game was only tied three times in regulation. When the game began, at the 6:59 mark and with eight seconds left to play in regulation when guard Trent Forrest made a layup to tie the game at 70 to force overtime.
At the end of the first half, Clemson led Florida State by a score 41-29. To start the game, the Seminoles came out very flat, missing shots, turning the ball over and missing free throws. Conversely, Clemson came out firing, making shots and forcing turnovers. In the first half, Clemson shot 7-16 from the three-point line and was 8-9 on free throws, while the Seminoles were 2-10 from the three-point line and shot 9-15 from the free throw line.
The biggest problem for the Seminoles however was the fact that they had 11 turnovers in the first half. They seemed to be very lackadaisical when passing the ball and attempted several ill-advised passes, which led to the majority of their turnovers. Clemson scored 16 points off of these turnovers, putting Florida State in a huge hole.
In the first half, Florida State was led by guard Terance Mann, who had eight points and was tied for the lead in rebounds with four. Fellow guard M.J. Walker had seven points of his own and forward Phil Cofer added four rebounds. Clemson was led by guard Marcquise Reed, who led all scorers in the first half with 14 points.
The second half was a completely different story for the Seminoles. They came out of halftime very aggressive in both offense and defense. It seemed that they were playing with greater urgency and were operating at a frenetic pace at times. The Seminoles also cut down on their turnovers, only giving up four while forcing 12 from Clemson. Florida State scored 19 points off of the turnovers while Clemson only scored two points off of the Seminole’s turnovers.
Clemson led the majority of overtime, until the 1:06 mark when Florida State was able to take the lead, 75-73 after a three-pointer from C.J. Walker and a layup from Forrest. They maintained the lead for the rest of the game. Clemson came back to be down one point with five seconds left to play, but Forrest made two clutch free throws to increase the Florida State lead to three.
Florida State was led by Cofer who led the team in scoring with 17 points. He scored every one of those points in the second half and was the driving force behind the Seminoles comeback as he was able to make shots in key situations and frustrated the Clemson defense. Forrest scored 16 points and led the Seminoles in assists with four. Mann led the team in rebounds with eight and added 13 points of his own. Guard Brain Angola contributed with 10 points.
Clemson was led by Reed, who finished with 23 points which led all scorers. Guard Gabe DeVoe and forward David Skara contributed with 11 points apiece. Forward Aamir Simms added 10 points and led all rebounders with nine.
Florida State will get a few days off before playing their next game here at home, against the Pittsburgh Panthers on February 18th, 6PM EST. Clemson will return home to the Littlejohn Coliseum and face a tough test in the Duke Blue Devils. That game will take place on February 18th, 1PM EST.