EditorsNote: fixes “Redhawks” throughout
No. 11 Florida State overcame a sluggish start after eight days off and finished strong to defeat Southeast Missouri State 85-68 on Monday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State guard Trent Forrest scored a game-high 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists to lead the Seminoles (9-1), who won their fourth consecutive game.
The Redhawks (5-7), who came into the game as heavy underdogs, led by many as 11 points in the first half and five points midway through the second half before Forrest and the Seminoles assumed control. Florida State went on a 24-5 run over six minutes in the second half to turn a 47-42 deficit into a 66-52 lead that the Seminoles wouldn’t give back.
Florida State also got solid games from guards Devin Vassell and David Nichols, as well as center Christ Koumadje. Vassell scored 16 points and pulled down four rebounds, Koumadje had 12 points and seven boards, and Nichols contributed 13 points along with four rebounds.
The Redhawks were paced by guard Ledarrius Brewer with 16 points, while fellow guard Skyler Hogan was the team’s only other double-figure scorer with 14 points. The defeat was Southeast Missouri State’s third straight as the Redhawks were dominated on the boards 46-28 by Florida State.
Despite being down as many as 11 points in the first half, the Seminoles rallied and the teams were tied at 34 at halftime.
Monday’s game marked the much-anticipated return of Florida State forward Phil Cofer, who was the Seminoles’ leading scorer last year. Cofer sustained a foot injury in the preseason and missed the first nine games. But his return was uneventful — he finished 0 for 4 with no rebounds, one foul and one turnover.
Florida State’s game against Southeast Missouri State was its first of four games (three at home and one in Sunrise, Fla.) before the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play at No. 5 Virginia on Jan. 9 in Charlottesville, Va. Following Monday night’s game, the Seminoles will next host neighboring North Florida on Wednesday.
The game between the Seminoles and Redhawks was only the second-ever meeting. The Seminoles defeated Southeast Missouri 100-75 on Dec. 22, 1994.
Southeast Missouri State will try to snap its losing skid when it returns to the hardwood Friday at home against Abilene Christian.
—Field Level Media