EditorsNote: fixes “until Forrest‘s” in fourth graf
Badly in need of a marquee win to boost its NCAA Tournament resume, Florida State got just that Wednesday night with a 81-79 comeback victory over No. 11 Clemson in overtime at Tallahassee, Fla.
Down by as many as 18 in the second half, the Seminoles (18-8, 7-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) never flinched en route to head coach Leonard Hamilton’s 500th career win.
With eight seconds to play regulation, Florida State guard Trent Forrest’s falling jumper tied the game at 70-70. Clemson had a chance to win it, but guard Marcquise Reed’s 15-foot jumper at the buzzer was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.
The Seminoles never led in the game until Forrest’s spinning bucket with 1:05 in overtime to put Florida State ahead 75-74. The Seminoles were then up 79-75 with under 10 seconds left before Clemson got a bucket from forward David Skara to cut the deficit to two. Then Skara stole the inbounds pass and was fouled, giving him a chance to tie with five seconds to play.
However, he missed the first free throw, and the Seminoles held on.
Forrest finished with a career-high 16 points along with four assists, while forward Phil Cofer paced Florida State with 17 points.
The Seminoles also got a solid game from guard Terance Mann with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds, as well as guard Braian Angola with 10 points.
Clemson (20-5, 9-4) was looking to snap a three-game losing streak to Florida State, but instead saw its overall four-game winning streak end.
The Tigers were paced by Reed, who led all scorers with 23 points. Guard Gabe DeVoe added 11 points in the loss, and forwards Skara (11) and Aamir Simms (10) rounded out the Tigers’ double-figure scorers. Clemson forward Elijah Thomas had eight points and nine boards.
After trailing for the entire night, Florida State tied it 59-59 with seven minutes remaining in regulation thanks to a huge second half by Cofer, who scored all of his points after halftime. Clemson led 41-29 at intermission.
Wednesday’s game marked the 10th overtime contest in the ACC this season.
The win by Florida State was also the 300th career ACC victory for Hamilton, already the Seminoles’ all-time winningest head coach.
Florida State plays its next game at home against Pitt on Sunday, then hits the road for two straight against N.C. State and a rematch at Clemson. The Seminoles close the regular season back in the Tucker Center on March 3 against Boston College.
Clemson’s final stretch before the ACC tournament looks like this: home against Duke on Sunday, followed by a road contest at Virginia Tech, then back-to-back home games against Georgia Tech and Florida State. The Tigers close the regular season March 3 at Syracuse.
--Field Level Media