The No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (21-5, 9-4) came into Tuesday’s contest with a seven game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Clemson Tigers (15-11, 5-8) had lost two straight games by a combined two points. Therefore, the Tigers were in a must-win situation on their homecourt. Instead, the Seminoles came out hot and earned a school record eighth straight ACC win, 77-64.
After taking a 49-31 lead early in the second half, the Seminoles were never really challenged thanks to some timely shooting. The Seminoles had three players reach double figures. As expected, leading scorer Mfiondu Kabengele led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Trent Forrest chipped in with 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Christ Koumadje added 10 points and 7 rebounds. The Seminoles also received nine points apiece from Terance Mann and M.J. Walker to help pace one of the deepest teams in college basketball.
When the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Seminoles on a last second shot, it felt like Cam Reddish took their heart. Well, after three consecutive losses, the Seminoles have come full circle. Their first win during the eight game streak came against the Tigers almost a month ago. Now, the Seminoles have an opportunity to win the ACC regular season if a few things bounce their way.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Tigers and their struggles in February. The month began with three straight wins. Now, three consecutive losses have put the Tigers squarely on the bubble with huge games down the stretch.
Despite not having much success, Elijah Thomas produced a three point play to cut the lead to 59-50. Moments later, a David Skara dunk cut the lead to seven points. However, that was as close at the Tigers would get. Thomas fouled out late in the game and he ended up with 13 points and 6 rebounds.
Marcquise Reed was the most effective scorer for the Tigers. He scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half. Shelton Mitchell produced 12 points and 6 assists, while Skara added 10 points.
The Seminoles went on a 15-2 run to take a commanding 38-23 lead at the halftime break. Forrest scored eight first half points in a highlight fashion. His runner prior to the halftime buzzer culminated the run to give the Seminoles their biggest lead of the first half. Meanwhile, Kabengele came off the bench to lead the Seminoles with 12 points and 7 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Tigers were never able to overcome their first half woes. Even with their 41 second half points, the Tigers still only shot 38 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Seminoles were connecting at 48 percent due to a great offensive rhythm.