The No. 14 Florida State men’s basketball team is off to a 3-0 start following Monday’s 93-61 win against Canisius in the opening game of the AdvoCare Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla.
Forward Mfiondu Kabengele led the Seminoles with a career-high 18 points and six rebounds in the win. Fellow forward Terance Mann and M.J. Walker were right behind Kabengele with 12 points each to help Florida State continue its unbeaten start to the season.
Canisius, down 15 points at halftime, stormed out of the locker room and opened the second half on a 14-5 run to cut the Seminoles’ lead to 47-41 with just over 13 minutes left to play. But Florida State responded with a run of its own, outscoring the Golden Griffins 14-3 over the next three minutes to pull comfortably back ahead 61-44 with 10 minutes left in the game.
The lead was still at 17 points, 72-55, with five minutes remaining as the Seminoles cruised home from there.
The Golden Griffins (1-2), who lost their second straight game after opening the season with a win against Bucknell, had three players reach double figures, paced by guard Malik Johnson, who dropped 20 points in the loss. Fellow guard Takal Molson, who came into the game as the 13th-leading scorer in the nation at 24.5 points a game, finished with 15 points, as did fellow guard Isaiah Reese to round out Canisius’ top scorers.
The Seminoles took a 42-27 lead to halftime behind 10 early points off the bench from Kabengele as the Seminoles shot 51.9 percent in the first half thanks to 20 fast break points. Two of those points came on a full-court pass by guard Trent Forrest to Kabengele, who jammed it home over two Canisius defenders to ignite the home crowd at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Reese led the Golden Griffins early with 10 points of his own to go along with eight from Molson, but the Canisius offense was fairly silent aside from those two.
Canisius, which was led on the glass by Molson’s six boards, lost forward Scott Hitchon in this game after he was ejected in the second half for throwing an elbow at Mann during a free throw.
Seminoles guard Devin Vassell was Florida State’s only other double-figure scorer with 10 points in the win. The Seminoles out-rebounded the Golden Griffins 40-25 behind a game-high nine boards from center Christ Koumadje, who also added eight points.
The game between the Seminoles and the Golden Griffins was the opener for both teams of the AdvoCare Invitational, which continues later this week
at the HP Fieldhouse at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Before Monday, Florida State and Canisius hadn’t played since the 1974-75 season, and their all-time series now stands at 2-1 in favor of Florida State.
The two teams last met in consecutive seasons in 1973-74 (a 91-74 Florida State win) and 1974-75 (an 81-75 Canisius win).
Following Monday’s game against Canisius, the Seminoles will play UAB in the second round of the AdvoCare Invitational on Thursday.
Florida State’s third-round game on Friday will be against either College of Charleston or LSU.
The Golden Griffins’ next game in the invitational is also Thursday as they face No. 8 Villanova, followed by a Friday matchup against either Memphis or Oklahoma State.
—Field Level Media