No. 14 Seminoles storm back to stun No. 19 Purdue, 73-72
Never a doubt.
Well, that might not be entirely true. Florida State was down eight with under four minutes to go on Wednesday night. And it looked like the Seminoles were about to drop their second straight game of the season.
Then they stormed back. More accurately, they locked down Purdue over the final 3:43, not allowing a single point as they closed the game on a 9-0 run to win, 73-72, at the Civic Center.
"The last six or seven minutes I thought our defense picked up," FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We were able to get some deflections and steals and we made some plays down the stretch to pull out a victory against a very good basketball team."
Trent Forrest hit the game-winner with 5.2 seconds left and then cemented the victory with a steal. It was his only basket of the second half. It was the second win in three games in which the Seminoles (6-1) stormed back in the final minutes to beat a ranked team - they knocked off LSU in overtime at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.
"We are never in panic mode," said FSU senior Terance Mann, who had nine points in the win. "It's who we are. We've been in so many games like that before."
M.J. Walker scored all 13 of his points in the second half to lead the Seminoles. Forrest and David Nichols both finished with nine points.
Purdue, which hit seven of its first eight 3-pointers in the second half, was led by Carsen Edwards' 24 points. But the junior star was just 7 of 19 from the floor and 3 of 10 from 3. He also missed two critical free throws in the final minutes.
Purdue’s Ryan Cline was 7 of 11 from 3 in the game to finish with 21 points. He hit his first four 3-pointers of the half as the Boilermakers turned a 12-point halftime deficit into an eight-point lead.
It looked like the Seminoles were done after Evan Boudreaux's 3-point play with just under four minutes remaining.
Purdue was up eight.
Purdue didn't score again.
And Florida State scored the final nine points of the game - two on free throws by Christ Koumadje, five by Walker (on a 3-pointer and two free throws) and then the final two on Forrest's game- winning shot.
"It was just a play for me to get a handoff. We've run it a couple times this year," Forrest said. "I knew the guy was probably going to cut me off early so that's when I just stepped over and took the little floater right there."
It was the second last-second shot this season for Forrest, who also tied the LSU game in the final seconds last weekend to send it to overtime.
"I guess I do love to play with the game on the line and the ball in my hands," Forrest said.
After a 44-point first half, in which they built their lead to as much as 16, the Seminoles struggled mightily in the final 20 minutes. They scored just 29 points, made 9 baskets and committed 10 turnovers.
The last of those came by Forrest, who threw an ill-advised cross-court pass with 26 seconds left and the chance to take the lead. But he made amends by tying up Cline for a jump ball with 14 seconds left.
It was just the beginning of his heroics as the Seminoles finished with yet another come-from-behind win.
“Even when we’re down, we know who we are,” Walker said. “We continued to fight back and we won the game.”
It was the 28th straight home non-conference win for the Seminoles, who play again Monday night vs. Troy.