No. 14 FSU cruises to 95-71 win over N.C. State
Three straight possessions. Three straight buckets at the rim. It was just that easy for the No. 14 Florida State men's basketball team in a 95-71 win over North Carolina State on Wednesday at the Tucker Center.
FSU (21-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) felt something of a push from the Wolfpack (14-11, 3-9), who stayed within 15 points until a Terance Mann basket sandwiched between two Michael Ojo dunks put the Seminoles up by 22 for a 65-43 lead with 13:57 left in the second half. FSU pushed its lead to 26 at one point before N.C. State was able to trim parts of the margin.
Freshman forward Jonathan Isaac led the Seminoles with 21 points and seven rebounds while sophomore swingman Dwayne Bacon finished with 19 points and nine boards.
The win gives the Seminoles, at least for the moment, sole possession of second place in the conference. North Carolina (21-4, 9-2) plays Thursday while Virginia (18-5, 8-3) does not play again until Sunday. As for the Seminoles, they'll play Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Saturday in South Bend, Ind.
FSU kept with its practice of using deep rotations to wear down opponents. Twelve of the Seminoles' 13 players logged more than five minutes by halftime. All of them contributed in some factor.
Players like sophomore center Christ Koumadje and sophomore guard P.J. Savoy garnered five minutes but did plenty. Savoy, while heavily guarded, hit two 3-pointers in the span of a minute to give the Seminoles a 21-point lead with 5:21 left. As for Koumadje, he was credited with one block but altered several shots.
Junior forward Phil Cofer drove inside to find Koumadje for a power finish with a dunk at the rim. Koumadje got back on defense, deflected a shot and it led to the Seminoles getting out in transition. Mann threw a no-look pass to Bacon for a dunk and a 27-14 lead with 8:21 left.
It was a balance to what players like Isaac and Rathan-Mayes produced. Isaac was 6 of 9 shooting for 17 points in 12 minutes by halftime. Rathan-Mayes only had two points and two assists, but his role defending Wolfpack star guard Dennis Smith Jr. was his biggest contribution.
Smith has been closely followed by a cavalcade of NBA scouts. Both he and Isaac are considered NBA Draft lottery picks by services such as DraftExpress. They rank Smith as the No. 4 draft prospect while Isaac is sixth.
The 6-foot-3 Smith has made a habit of torching teams with his shooting or ability to find teammates. Rathan-Mayes was one of four or so Seminoles who held him to 0-of-4 shooting with four assists in 17 minutes by halftime.
Smith finished with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting over 35 minutes.
Poor first-half shooting was a problem for the Wolfpack as a collective. They shot 11 of 28 for 39.3 percent. Coming into the game, they had three shooters converting more than 40 percent of their 3-pointers. By half, the Wolfpack were 2 of 10 for 20 percent from beyond.