M.J. Walker exploded from deep to lead the ‘Noles to their first ACC road win
Winning on the road in the ACC is never an easy task, as FSU demonstrated with losses at Boston College and Pittsburgh, but the Seminoles went down to Coral Gables and thoroughly dominated the Hurricanes.
Florida State got out to an early lead and never trailed. See Inside the Box Score for statistical analysis of the matchup.
Above The Rim
- Building on their previous outing versus Clemson, the Seminoles shot 12-20 (60%) from deep and 28-50 (56%) from the field. On the season FSU is just 204th in the country at 33.3% from three (KenPom), but the ‘Noles have shown the ability to be lethal from beyond the arc at times. M.J. Walker set a new career high with 6 three’s, while PJ Savoy & Terance Mann chipped in two apiece. Mann went 2-2 from three, further demonstrating that his tendency to hesitate from three is no longer due to an inability to shoot the ball. When shots are falling like this, the Seminoles are a tough team to beat for any opponent.
- FSU dominated the defensive glass, grabbing 28 rebounds on that end of the floor. The ‘Noles have been one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country this season, currently sitting at 19th, but have not been as successful on the other end of the floor, coming in at 192nd. The Hurricanes have struggled with rebounding on both ends of the floor all year, coming in at 243rd offensively and 244th defensively, which may explain the ‘Noles increase in defensive boards. Improved defensive rebounding allowed the Seminoles to limit Miami’s average length of possession, push the tempo, and better exploit their depth advantage.
- The continued hampering of Phil Cofer by a lingering foot injury is not FSU’s only concern on the injury front. Trent Forrest (turf toe) and Terance Mann (heel bruise) are both suffering from injuries that can really only heal with time, a luxury not afforded them until the offseason. Forrest and Mann are still logging their usual minutes, but it is evident that neither is playing at full strength and the overall expectations for this team are significantly lower with these three starters all suffering from similar injuries. Another week with no midweek game will give them some time to mend, but how they are able to perform the rest of the way with these nagging issues will largely determine the Seminoles’ fate.
- As previously mentioned, Walker went 6-7 from three and led all scorers with 22 points. This is the kind of performance that many thought Walker would regularly have in his second season and it is an encouraging sign that the former McDonald’s All-American is emerging as the kind of scorer FSU has been sorely lacking. With the lingering injuries to several other players, Walker will need to become a more consistent scoring threat.
The Seminoles get another much-needed break before hosting Georgia Tech at noon on Saturday. Wondering which games to watch when the ‘Noles aren’t playing? Be sure to check out “The FSU basketball fan’s daily rooting guide”.