FSU Crushes Miami: 3 Game-Changing Plays

This one was never really close. The first couple minutes were tight, but no one would’ve known about it since the NC State-Virginia game went on an extra 15 minutes. Once FSU got the lead, they never looked back. After going up 10-6 at the first media timeout, FSU exploded for a 17-2 run over the next 5 minutes and it was never the same. The closest Miami would get the game is 11 points, before the ‘Noles would go on another 13-5 run over 4 minutes. It was an offensive clinic from start to finish, especially in the first half when FSU put up 1.361 points per possession. Oh, and did I mention MJ Walker didn’t play?

Walker missed the game for cautionary reasons. He didn’t practice leading up to the Pitt game, but did participate in pre-game shootaround. He was a late scratch and will be a game-time decision for UNC on Saturday. Malik Osborne turned his ankle mid-way through the first half and didn’t return, while Tanor Ngom was out tonight as well. It still never mattered for FSU. They dominated this from start to finish and cruised to an 88-71 win, covering the spread without their leading scorer.

Before we get to the plays, some box score notes.

57-5 bench points is INSANE. So is 52-22 points in the paint. 21-9 assists isn’t shabby either. It was a clinic for Florida State, as they put up 1.313 points per possession. When this team takes care of the ball, they’re really, really good.

RaiQuan Gray is incredibly elite. The broadcast put up a wild graphic that said in his first 73 games as a Seminole, he had 8 games in double figures scoring. In his last 9 games, including tonight, he’s had 9 games in double figures. He was on triple double watch for most of the night, finishing with 12 points, 13 rebounds (career high), and 6 assists, while chipping in 2 blocks. He’s too good right now.

Sardaar Calhoun was impressive tonight in Walker’s absense, finishing with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He had 12 points alone in the first half, and is just another testament to FSU’s depth this season.

Balsa Koprivica showcased his incredible skillset once again tonight, finishing with 13 points and 8 rebounds, including another Giannis-like coast-to-coast transition. He should have another season in Tallahassee, but his NBA interest is growing steadily.

Anthony Polite returned to the starting lineup with MJ Walker out, but still finished in double-figures with 12 points. His importance to this team cannot be understated. I wouldn’t be upset if he stayed with the starters.

Scottie Barnes’ vision was on full display tonight, and he was making a concerted effort to get EVERYONE involved, as he finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists. When Quincy Ballard checked in, Barnes was making sure Ballard was getting touches and staying focused, he has such rare vision and poise for a freshman.

For Miami, it was all Isaiah Wong. He was the only player doing anything for the Hurricanes, and finished with 29 points, one point off of tying a career high. A couple of other players for Miami were in double figures, but they were extremely inefficient.

Onto the plays, which will essentially be a highlight reel.

Play 1

Scenario: Getting Ballard Involved

Barnes was force-feeding Quincy Ballard in this game, and that’s ok. Give him some confidence. Ballard was actually fairly solid tonight, finishing with 8 points and 4 rebounds. He’s going to be a developmental player to watch, in 2-3 season he could be really, really good.

Play 2


No analysis, just absurdity. He’s 7’1″.

Play 3

Scenario: Playing at FSU Means NO. EASY. LAYUPS.

I mean, Isaiah Wong… what are you doing? What did you expect?

FSU is back on the road Saturday night with a game at North Carolina. UNC has been playing really well in conference recently, but just lost tonight at home to a bad Marquette team 83-70. We’ll discuss this more in the game preview in a few days.

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