Overtime Stunner: 'Noles stage huge rally, knock off No. 11 Clemson, 81-79
It's not time to cue the dancing music just yet, but Florida State's NCAA Tournament hopes received a major boost Wednesday night, thanks to an 81-79 overtime victory against No. 11 Clemson.
Things looked bleak early as the Seminoles trailed by 12 points at halftime and by 18 in the second half. But sophomore guard Trent Forrest hit a runner with 8.1 seconds remaining to send it to overtime at 70-70. And the 'Noles outscored the visiting Tigers by a margin of 11-9 in the extra period to secure the victory.
The Seminoles are now 18-8 and 7-7 in the ACC, while Clemson falls to 20-5 and 9-4.
FSU, which trailed from the onset, took its first lead at 75-74 on an acrobatic basket by Forrest with just over a minute remaining. Forrest later had a key blocked shot and hit two free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining to secure the win.
The victory should do wonders for FSU's tournament chances with four regular-season games remaining, since Clemson came into the game with a top-five RPI.
"It gives us a tremendous opportunity to make the tournament," said junior guard Terance Mann, who scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. "Still in the hunt. And (it) gives us confidence for the next four games."
The Seminoles now have home games remaining against Pitt and Boston College, and road trips to N.C. State and Clemson.
Florida State made things interesting in the second half after a poor first 20 minutes. The Seminoles trailed by 12 points at halftime, 41-29; it was one of the their worst halves of the season.
But FSU turned up the defensive intensity in the second half and cut the deficit to two points with about 10 minutes remaining. Senior forward Phil Cofer then tied it up at 59-59 with a jumper near the seven-minute mark.
"They were just telling me to keep being aggressive," Cofer said. "So that's what I was trying to do."
Cofer led FSU with 17 points after going scoreless in the first half. Forrest finished with 16 points after scoring just four in the first period.
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