FSU Dominates Louisville: 3 Game-Changing Plays

There is something about Louisville that Florida State really doesn’t like. Maybe it’s Chris Mack, and that this staff still hasn’t gotten over the 2017 loss against Xavier in the tournament. Maybe it’s all the talk Louisville loves to talk, and Florida State just walks it for them. Either way, this team loves being disrespectful against the Cardinals, and Chris Mack has to dread going against FSU and their length.

The first 15 minutes were all FSU- leading at one point 40-16 before Louisville started chipping away slowly and going on a 12-2 run to end the half, and FSU went in to the break up 14 points. The second half was more back and forth, with more mini-runs from both sides. At one point, Louisville got the lead down to 8 before Florida State went on a quick surge and got the lead right back up to 18. It was a phenomenal game for many players on FSU’s side, which we’ll get to in a minute, but the defense was the best they’ve looked all season. They were swarming to the paint, playing with active hands and forcing deflections, then finishing possessions off with hard block outs. Louisville may have had 13 offensive rebounds, but a lot of those came off of blocked shots.

At the end, Florida State was able to pull away for a 78-65 win for their 3rd win in a row this season, their 4th straight win against Louisville, and 3rd straight 10+ point win over Louisville.

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

Outside of a couple of statistics, Florida State dominated Louisville. FG% (50.0% to 43.9%), 3pt% (42.9% to 25%), FT% (70% to 61.1%, and FSU was really 7/8 until Quincy Ballard misses two in the final minute), rebounds and turnovers were dead even, points off of TOs (14-9), Bench Points (29-7), Steals (8-3), Assists (19-6).* There were zero lead changes, and the game was only tied for 1:44. Domination.

*Italicized words are things I mentioned as key factors in this game

RaiQuan Gray had yet another massive game, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a handful of deflections. He’s really coming into his own as a secondary ball-handler and play-maker, and his defensive impact can’t be understated. I’ve never been so surprised when a player finishes with no blocks or steals, because his hands were in passing lanes, he was poking balls loose all night, and seemed to cause so many disruptions.

Wyatt Wilkes woke up for this game, being thrusted into a starting lineup with Anthony Polite out due to a shoulder injury. I said in a tweet before the game:

He ended up with 13 points, so close enough, but his experience was massive in this game. He was in the right spot at so many of the right times, and filled in the Polite sized hole nicely.

Malik Osborne had his best game of the season and is finally starting to look comfortable, finishing with 12 points and 3 rebounds (his impact was much bigger than these 3 rebounds). He looked as good as he has all season, and is finally playing like he did last season. He spent much more time at the 5 this game than in the past few games, and that certainly helped.

I came into the game with the expectation that Scottie Barnes wouldn’t play, and if he did, it would just be 10 or so minutes. Instead, he came in, looked 100%, and had huge impacts on both ends of the floor. Barnes ended up playing 22 minutes, and will now get almost a whole week’s worth of rest before getting back at it on Saturday. He finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Massive impact.

Balsa Koprivica may not have had the most impressive box score: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. But the flashes he was showing, especially in the second half, were things not seen by people his size. Defensively, he was really impressive; when he switched out onto the perimeter, he rarely got beat off of the dribble, and he was guarding people a foot shorter than him.

MJ Walker may not have had a big scoring night with just 2 points, but he dished out 10 assists, blowing past his previous career high of 5 assists. He also showed off the effort despite being banged up with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. So while his scoring wasn’t there, he still found ways to have huge impacts on this game.

Also, shoutout Travis Light for hitting the meaningless shot at the end to let the game hit the over.

For Louisville, Carlik Jones and David Johnson did what they’re supposed to do, finishing with 17 points and 15 points, respectively. Samuell Williamson and Jae’lyn Withers added 12 points and 14 points. Everyone else that played combined for just 7 points. Starter Dre Davis, who came into the game averaging 9.5 PPG and played 29 minutes, only took 3 shots and didn’t make a single one. Jones in particular was limited in his attempts. His last two games saw him put up 20 shots in each game, and he finished with just 12 attempts against FSU. That’s a massive drop off in open looks.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Scenario: Just Under 5 Minutes Remaining in the First Half, Malik Osborne Gets a Deflection

First, great defense to force the deflection by Osborne. He stunted at the ball then recovered as soon as he saw Samuell Williamson pick up the ball and got the steal. He then finishes it off with a tough and-one in traffic at the other end that saw the lead stretch to 40-16. At this moment, it felt like FSU would win by 50. Louisville ended up making it a game, but these first 15 minutes were peak FSU Basketball.

Play 2

Scenario: Balsa Antetokounmpo? Giannis Koprivica? Serbian Freak?

This is absurd. Koprivica plays the passing lane, takes it coast to coast himself, misses the initial layup, but then follows it up with a putback dunk. 7’1″ human beings are not supposed to do this.

He had just done this the offensive sequence before.

These were much needed baskets. Louisville had gotten the lead down to 8, and this sequence opened up an 12-2 run over the next 4 minutes, and firmly gave Florida State this game.


Play 3

Scenario: Malik Osborne Has No Regard For Human Life

Osborne had his own massive alley-oop finish last year at Louisville, then we all know the Trent Forrest poster on Jordan Nwora at home last season… this is a third straight FSU/UL game where a Cardinal was just slammed into a body bag. Disgraceful.

Florida State gets a little bit of a break after playing 3 games in 6 days and will be home against Clemson on Saturday at 3pm.

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  1. Pingback: The Daily Nole - Jan. 19, 2021: FSU Handles Louisville on the Road, 78-65 - The Daily Nole

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