Box Score: Florida State 73, Purdue 72
Never a doubt.
Well, that might not be entirely true. Florida State was down eight minutes with less than four minutes Wednesday night. And it seemed that the Seminoles were about to abandon their second consecutive game of the season.
Then they fought back. Specifically, they blocked Purdue on the final score of 3:43, allowing no points as they finished the match on a 9-0 run to win 73-72 at the Civic Center.
"The last six or seven minutes I thought our defense had resumed," said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton. "We managed to get some deflections and robberies and we made a few assists to win a very good basketball team."
Trent Forrest hit the winner with 5.2 seconds to play, then cemented the win with a flight. It was his only basket of the second half. It was the second victory in three games in which the Seminoles (6-1) fought back in the final minutes to beat a ranked team. They eliminated LSU in overtime at Advocare Invitational in Orlando.
"We are never in panic mode," said Terance Mann, a senior FSU senior, who scored nine points in the win. "That's what we are – we've already played in so many games like this."
Mr. J. Walker scored each of his 13 points in the second half to lead the Seminoles. Forrest and David Nichols both finished with nine points.
Purdue, who scored 7 of his first 8 points in the second half, was led by Carsen Edwards' 24 points. But the junior star was only 7 out of 19 and 3 out of 10 out of 3. He also missed two critical free throws in the final minutes.
Ryan Cline was 7 of 11 in 3 in the match to finish with 21 points. He scored his first four three half-half goals as the Boilermakers turned a 12-point deficit at half-time in an eight-point lead.
It looked as though the Seminoles had been completed after Evan Boudreaux's three-point play, just under four minutes from the end.
Purdue was up 8.
Purdue no longer scored.
And Florida State scored the final nine points of the match: two free throws from Christ Koumadje, five from Walker (on a pointer and two free throws) and finally the last two to Forrest's winning shot.
"It was a game for me to receive a transfer and we ran it several times this year," Forrest said. "I knew that the guy was probably going to interrupt me early, so that's when I approached and took the little float there."
It was the last race of last season for Forrest, who also tied the LSU game in the final seconds of last weekend to send him into overtime.
"I guess I love playing with the game on the line and the ball between my hands," Forrest said.
After a 44-point first half, in which they scored 16 points, the Seminoles faced serious difficulties in the last 20 minutes. They scored only 29 points, made 9 baskets and made 10 turnovers.
The last of these came from Forrest, who threw a misguided cross pass 26 seconds from the end and the opportunity to take the lead. But he made amends by blocking Cline for a jumped ball with 14 seconds to go.
It was only the beginning of his exploits as the Seminoles ended with another victory.
"Even when we're down, we know who we are," Walker said. "We kept fighting and we won the match."
That was the 28th consecutive conference off-conference win, which again play Monday night against Troy.