Florida State rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half on Wednesday night to come back and knock off No. 11 Clemson with a 81-79 overtime win.
The Seminoles found themselves down by 12 points at halftime and 18 points with 18 minutes left as they made a furious comeback to secure one of their biggest wins of the season.
Forcing 21 Clemson turnovers, Florida State (18-8, 7-7) survived an ugly perimeter-shooting night to somehow pick up the win. Even though the Seminoles never led in this game until just over a minute left in overtime, Leonard Hamilton’s team showed a significant amount of fight by grinding its way back into this game.
Phil Cofer paced the Florida State offense with 17 points — all in the second half — while guard Trent Forrest made some key shots down the stretch to finish with 16 points. The Seminoles were only 5-for-20 from three-point range for the game, but they still managed to fight back thanks to their ability to force turnovers and attack the basket.
This is arguably the best win of the season for Florida State — considering all of the circumstances. Not only did the Seminoles pick up a key win over a conference opponent, but they also did so in a game where they didn’t play particularly well. Florida State had no business winning this game based on how they played for the first 24 minutes and they still picked off the No. 11 team in the country. While Florida State was likely a bubble team with a loss on Wednesday, now they’re feeling a lot better about making the Field of 68 after a win over the Tigers.
Clemson (20-5, 9-4) is all but out of the ACC regular season race following Wednesday night’s loss as they are now three games behind Virginia in the loss column. This loss comes as a major disappointment for the Tigers. Not only did Clemson blow a huge lead on the road against an ACC opponent, but they also had a chance to earn another solid road win for NCAA tournament seeding purposes.
While seemingly every ranked team in the country has been losing to unranked opponents over the past few weeks, Clemson had a chance to extend its four-game winning streak while continuing to make a positive impression on the committee. Now, the Tigers are searching for multiple answers after squandering Wednesday night’s winnable game.
Marcquise Reed led Clemson with 24 points, but he also finished with five turnovers, as he was one of a handful of Tiger players who didn’t adjust well to Florida State’s pressure. Point guard Shelton Mitchell also took an elbow to the head late in the game as he had to be helped off of the floor. It looked like Mitchell might have had a concussion as it was scary to see his reaction to the play.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Clemson responds to this loss. The Tigers have to host Duke for its next contest and another game with Florida State looms at the end of February. If Mitchell is out for any period of time, then Clemson could struggle mightily against good competition. Even if Mitchell is back, Clemson needs to address some turnover issues before its next game.