FSU Avenges Pitt Loss: 3 Game-Changing Plays

Leonard Hamilton calls a 4-point win in the ACC a blowout… so what does he call a 15-point win?

Florida State had a bad taste in their mouths from their first loss of the season, a 63-61 loss at Pittsburgh. Although the first half may have been a little closer than expected, the second have was ALL turquoise and FSU was able to win 82-67, getting the Classless Caucasians in on the action as well.

The ‘Noles got the revenge they were looking for with so many splashy plays, but there were some moments in the first half where it didn’t look like FSU was going to win at all. Pitt started the game on a 12-5 run in the first six minutes before FSU went to a zone defense of all things, and Pitt had no idea what to do offensively. The bench came in for FSU and brought some fireworks to get the ‘Noles the lead.

After half, everything was going Florida State’s way. To the point where this happened.

The shrug at the end tells you everything you need to know about this game. Before we get to more plays, some box score notes.

Florida State was able to overcome a massive foul deficit this time against Pitt: 21 fouls for FSU to Pitt’s 13, which led to a free throw difference of 12 FTA for FSU and 26 for Pitt. Florida State still won by 15, that’s incredible.

Turnovers were much more comparable; 14 for Pitt and 16 for FSU. Florida State was definitely too loose with the ball, especially Trent Forrest who had 4 turnovers himself, but the difference here is the ‘Noles were able to get out in transition on a lot of these turnovers. Pitt had very few transition points, only scoring on 6 of their 19 transition chances.

The biggest difference was 3-point shooting. Florida State was 9/22 (40.9%) from deep compared to Pitt’s 4/22 (18.2%). FSU’s looks were more open, and they looked more confident shooting the ball. A lot of Pitt’s 3s were contested in some way, and that makes major difference when shooting the ball.

Patrick Williams again was incredible off of the bench for Leonard Hamilton, finishing with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and a block. There’s athletic, and then there’s Patrick Williams athletic. He is always rising above for rebounds and putbacks, and seems to always be around the ball. He is really starting to turn it on as we inch towards March.

Anthony Polite had the quietest 10 points I think I’ve ever seen. Trent Forrest chipped in another 10. And that’s it as far as double-digit scorers for FSU goes, but it’s nowhere near the whole story of this game.

Dominik Olejniczak had his best game as a ‘Nole, including one crazy fallaway off the glass (I don’t know either). Balsa Koprivica flashed his offensive potential again with some really fancy passes in the post. RayQuan Evans was vital in the first half, giving Forrest some much needed rest… the bench combined for 53 of FSU’s 82 points, and 12 different players in turquoise scored tonight.

For Pitt, Au’Diese Toney led the way with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists, while going 2/4 from deep and 3/4 from the line. He was one of three Panthers who turned it over 4 times.

Xavier Johnson and Justin Champagnie had 12 points and 11 points, respectively, but each score half of their points from the free throw line. Pitt may have had four guys in double figured, but it wasn’t because they were making a lot of shots, it was all free throws.

Terrell Brown was their lone player that was doing work against FSU with his 11 points, but 8 of them came in the first half. Once FSU made their adjustments, he wasn’t much of a factor.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Scenario: The Zone Defense

I don’t even know how I’m going to explain how FSU runs their zone.

This was the first possession of zone FSU ran, and it’s a doozy. It looks like a 2-3, but acts more as a 1-3-1 or a 2-2-1, VERY similar to the defense Georgia Tech runs.

The 1-3-1 element is shown with Wyatt Wilkes running the baseline or holing up underneath the basket. The trapping in the corners definitely comes as a part of a 1-3-1 defense, but it’s also typical in the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Balsa Koprivica controls the entire middle of the floor, and even helps trap on the last corner pass, which is also typical of a 2-3. If anything, it can be described as a matchup zone, but this was forcing turnovers and really confused Pitt for the longest time.

Going to a zone from time to time can only help them as long as they run it efficiently. It gives Trent Forrest, and the rest of the team, some much needed rest compared to their man defense that requires them to do a ton. Plus, it’s one more thing opposing teams have to prepare against.

Play 2

Scenario: 3 minutes remaining in the first half

We’ve been yelling, screaming, and pleading for FSU’s bigs to dunk the ball around the rim, and look what happens when they do.

This dunk gave FSU the lead again, and they wouldn’t give it up again. Dom absolutely had his best game as a ‘Nole against Pitt, which makes up for him having to miss the first game

Play 3

Scenario: Ah who cares, HIGHLIGHT TAPE

You want fallaway bank shots by 7 footers that shouldn’t be shooting fallaways? We got em.

You want ELITE ball movement ending in a Bread Man 3? We got it.

You want put-back dunks? Here’s some of that!

You want transition passes that shouldn’t get through yet end in an AND ONE? We got em!

You want Point God Balsa Koprivica? We’ve got that too!

You want NO EASY LAYUPS? This is Florida State, you KNOW there’s some of that.

And these are only some of the many highlight plays for Florida State. I didn’t even include the behind the back pass from Wyatt Wilkes. Florida State was just having fun out there while wearing the best jerseys in college basketball, and it’s a game, you’re supposed to have fun.

Florida State improves to 22-4 (12-3) and will travel to Raleigh, NC on Saturday to take on the NC State Wolfpack a team that can provide fireworks offensively.

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