The ninth-ranked Florida State men’s basketball team closed out nonconference play and rang in the new year with an 87-76 defeat of Winthrop at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Seminoles (12-1) built a 52-36 halftime lead then held off an Eagles comeback attempt to win their seventh straight game. Florida State’s lone loss was on Nov. 25 against defending national champion Villanova.
Seminoles guard Terance Mann was one of four Florida State players to score in double digits with 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting to go with seven rebounds and two assists.
Last season’s leading scorer, forward Phil Cofer, scored 14 points in just his third game of the season because of injury. Fellow forward Mfiondu Kabengele and guard David Nichols each added 10 points in the win.
Winthrop, which trailed by as many as 18 points early in the second half, made a furious rally and twice pulled within two points. But the Eagles, who had won four straight games coming into Tuesday, could never catch the Seminoles.
Winthrop’s comeback was led by guard Adam Pickett, who finished with a team-high 19 points. The Eagles also got solid games from forward Charles Falden (15 points, seven rebounds), forward Kyle Zunic (13 points) and guard Michael Anumba (10 points).
The game was closer than the final score suggested. Winthrop shot 49 percent to Florida State’s 47 percent, and the Seminoles narrowly out-rebounded the Eagles 37-36.
It was the second meeting between the two teams. In 2016, the Seminoles beat the Eagles 100-86 in the 2016 Preseason NIT.
The Seminoles, who have now won 32 consecutive nonconference games at home, improved to 12-1 for just the third time in school history. The difference Tuesday was 3-point shooting: Florida State shot 36 percent (8 of 22), while Winthrop shot 26 percent (6 of 23).
Florida State’s last time playing on New Year’s Day came during the 1957-58 season. Tuesday was only the third time in school history the Seminoles have played on Jan. 1.
Florida State opens Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday at No. 4 Virginia. Winthrop now moves on to Big South Conference action with a Saturday game at UNC-Asheville.
—Field Level Media