Seminoles knock off LSU in OT, advance to tourney title game
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton flashed a big smile when talking about a game-winning 3-pointer by 6-foot-10 forward Mfiondu Kabengele.
Kabengele hit the deep jumper with a half-second left in overtime, and No. 14 Florida State advanced to the AdvoCare Invitational championship game with a 79-76 win over No. 19 LSU on Saturday.
“Of course we drew up that last play for Mfiondu to take a jump shot deep in the corner. ... That’s the shot we wanted all along,” Hamilton said with a laugh.
The Seminoles (5-0) will play defending national champion Villanova on Sunday.
Tremont Waters made three free throws to pull LSU even at 76 with 11.5 seconds to go in overtime before Kabengele’s shot bounced off the rim and into the basket.
“It just dropped right in and I was in shock,” Kabengele said. “I’m just happy it went in.”
Kabengele, the nephew of former NBA standout Dikembe Mutombo, finished with 15 points.
After trailing by nine, Florida State forced overtime when Trent Forrest tied it at 68-68 on a layup with 2.8 seconds left.
“Our guys, we’re strong in character,” Hamilton said. “I thought they grew up a little bit tonight.”
Naz Reid’s 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the rim for LSU, who got 19 points from Skylar Mays.
“I think we learned a lot about ourselves this game,” Mays said. “We played a ranked team, a great team and we hung in there. We gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Reid hit a 3 and Emmitt Williams had a fast-break dunk as LSU went up 59-52 with 7½ minutes left.
Reid, slowed recently by an ankle injury, scored 12 points in 41 minutes.
M.J. Walker had 13 of his game-high 21 points during the first half as Florida State took a 30-29 lead at the break.
LSU (5-1) will go against Oklahoma State in Sunday’s third-place game.
“I was proud of us,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “We came back when we were down five in overtime. We could have just packed it in. We got a couple gut punches there and we hung in there.”