FSU Survives WF in OT: 3 Game-Changing Plays

It wasn’t pretty, but…

23 straight ACC Home wins. That is 2nd most in the long history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

11 straight OT wins. That is tied for the most in NCAA history. Those should be your two takeaways from this game.

Yes, some random bench player exploded for 23 points for Wake Forest. Yes, there were some questionable shots from Florida State down the stretch. Things can be fixed, but a W in the column is permanent and that is what they came away with. It was the most boring overtime possible, there were two total made field goals on both sides, but Florida State made 10 free throws in OT, and that was the major difference.

Florida State looked like they were going to blow things open at the end of the first half, ending it on a 15-2 run. Those kinds of runs usually separate themselves from other teams. Wake just kept chipping away all half before eventually taking the lead, and looked like they were going to escape with a win in the final two minutes. WF had switched their ball screen defense to an ice/drop coverage and it gave FSU some issues. After a couple of missed free throws on both sides in the final two minutes, FSU was able to get a layup from Scottie Barnes to force OT.

With Virginia on deck and coming off of another COVID pause, I expected some combination of rust and lack of focus. Things would’ve been dandy if Jonah Antonio went for a career high 23 points on 7/8 from behind the arc. Other than that, things went how the script had it drawn up. Before we get into the plays, some box score notes.

RaiQuan Gray is an elite player. A pro, if you will. 24 points, 12 rebounds, 10/10 from the free throw line and 7/10 from the floor, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. This is FSU’s best player, and I don’t think this is a debate. He has been phenomenal this season, and seeing him play with confidence is a sight to behold.

MJ Walker was dynamite in the first half, but struggled with shot selection in the second half. He was still solid as a playmaker and finished with 14 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals. He was also uncharacteristically shaky from the free throw line, where he was just 1/4. Something to monitor going forward.

Anthony Polite came back and was awesome. 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. He’s such an important piece to Florida State’s puzzle. His on-ball defense, his 3-point spacing, his effort. He should be placed back in the starting lineup soon.

Scottie Barnes’s game-tying layup is all anyone is going to talk about, and it’s a phenomenal play. He still needs to be more aggressive, which I’ll talk about when I show the play. He finished with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Malik Osborne started in place of Balsa Koprivica, who was out for unannounced reasons (I think he plays against UVA), and was solid. 12 points, 8 rebounds, and an assist is a perfect statline for someone like Osborne. He was able to space the floor and hit some 3s, a farcry from the last time we saw him against GT.

For Wake Forest, it was Jonah Antonio, we already talked about it. 23 points from him can’t keep happening. Everything else looks normal. Ian Dubose had 18 points, Daivien Williamson had 13 points, then no one else was in double figures. Normal double-digit scorer Isaiah Mucius was held to 4 points on 5 total shots. Without Antonio, this is a blowout.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Scenario: New Sets!

College basketball is a copycat game. And this one was stolen right out of Chris Mack’s playbook. Xavier ran this, or something similar, a couple of times against FSU in that 2017 upset and FSU simply had no answer for it. A simple concept really, clear one side of the floor, set a screen then an immediate back screen for a lob and hope the defense doesn’t react quick enough. I had to get at least one RaiQuan Gray play in here, and this was the one I chose.

Play 2

Scenario: 6:52 Remaining in the Second Half, Wake enters transition

I have to give props where they’re due, Jonah Antonio was on a different level.

This was the first play all game where I was like “oh, Wake is here to play.” Antonio was just playing with so much confidence, look at the shooting stroke. He knew it was going in before he even shot it, and that’s not an easy shot. In transition, two people running at him. Nets. The final 7 minutes of this game were real back and forth, with neither team getting any sort of advantage.

Play 3

Scenario: Scottie. Barnes.

I figured no one wanted a minute long highlight reel of free throws in overtime, so instead, here’s THE play people will talk about.

An incredible take. The play was designed so that he had no choice but to score, and when he’s aggressive and takes it directly to the rim, no one can stop him. But I want you to watch the play again. Does it look familiar to you? It should.

It’s the same play call, Osborne just didn’t set the screen until Barnes crosses half court instead of doing it in the backcourt because Wake wasn’t pressuring. It’s a cross-court dribble and an instant reaction. If someone helps off, pass it, like Loucks did in 2012. Otherwise, take it all the way. Scottie took it all the way, then finished impressively with a reverse layup to take it into OT.

FSU is right back at it Monday night against Virginia, who doesn’t play until 6pm tonight then has to travel directly to Tallahassee, while FSU gets to rest and recover and not go anywhere.

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