November 30, 2019 / 2:59 AM / 7 days ago

Florida State beats No. 17 Tennessee, moves to tourney final

EditorsNote: updates next opponents in 2nd graf, minor additional edits

Balanced scoring and defensive pressure boosted Florida State into the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic tournament with a 60-57 win over No. 17 Tennessee on Friday in Niceville, Fla.

The Seminoles will play for the tournament title on Saturday against Purdue after the Boilermakers defeated No. 20 VCU 59-56 in the other semifinal. Tennessee will face VCU in the third-place contest Saturday.

Devin Vassell scored 13 points, M.J. Walker added 10 and Trent Forrest had nine. Patrick Williams and Balsa Koprivica each had eight for FSU (6-1).

Lamonte Turner tallied 20 points, Yves Pons 13 and Jordan Bowden 11 for the Volunteers (5-1), who committed 21 turnovers and scored well below their 73.8 points per game.

Tennessee’s biggest problem was at point guard as Turner, a senior, committed eight turnovers.

With their campus located just over two hours away, the Seminoles started fast in the first semifinal game in front of a partisan Florida State crowd.

Florida State easily gained access to the paint and went 6-for-8 from the field in the game’s first five minutes, with center Koprivica’s dunk giving the Seminoles a 12-2 lead.

Pons brought the Tennessee faithful alive when he drove baseline and slammed down a two-handed dunk at 9:12 to cut Florida State’s lead to 20-15.

The Volunteers held their own despite a rash of turnovers by knocking down eight of their first nine free throws, but Turner struggled with running the offense.

A key cog in Tennessee’s success last season, he committed five of his team’s 13 first-half turnovers and found himself on the bench in the final minutes of the half.

John Fulkerson’s putback ended a field goal drought of 7:45 by the Volunteers, who trailed 29-24 at halftime after outscoring Florida State 22-15 to close the half.

The Seminoles’ largest lead of the half was 12 when it held a 14-2 advantage just over six minutes in.

Florida State’s quick ball movement resulted in dunks by Koprivica and Williams for a 38-29 lead at 15:41 of the second half.

The Volunteers got it to 57-54 with 1:03 left on two free throws by Davonte Gaines, but Forrest hit one free throw and Vassell made two more to seal the win.

—Field Level Media

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