No moral victories
No. 1 Devils top Seminoles on buzzer beater
TALLAHASSEE — After a crushing 80-78 loss Saturday to No. 1 Duke on a last-second shot, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton didn’t want to get caught in talk about moral victories.
“Obviously they were extremely disappointed. And that’s positive, because they care about winning,” Hamilton said of his players’ reaction to losing a thrilling game during which the two teams often traded leads. “… I think we’re growing and maturing in some of those areas. We’ve got to make sure we bounce back. We don’t want to take any moral victories away. We had a chance and we got beat by a team that played a little better than we did.”
Still, there were a lot of
positives the No. 13 Seminoles (13-3, 1-2 ACC) could take away from the contest. Mfiondu Kabengele was aggressive and finished with a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Phil Cofer looked closer to his pre-injury form, finishing with 21 points, including five 3-pointers.
The Seminoles have had different players step up this season, and Kabengele said his mindset entering the Duke game allowed him to produce.
“I prepared pretty well throughout the season. I stay in the gym; I watched a lot of film on Duke. They’re a talented team,” he said. “I believe I had the right mindset and my goal going into every game is to just bring energy and whatever happens, happens.
I believe I brought that today and my teammates fed off it and we just couldn’t execute down the stretch. But I’m happy with the energy that we brought.”
FSU remained poised down the stretch, responding to a 10-0 Duke run in the second half, taking a late lead and overall making things difficult for the Blue Devils (14-1, 3-0) — with the exception of the final shot.
Miscommunication allowed Cam Reddish to take a wide-open 3-pointer to win the game as time clicked away.
“They hit a backscreen, a couple of our guys shifted and Cam came from the corner and hit a good shot,” Kabengele said.
Duke’s RJ Barrett shushes the rowdy FSU crowd Saturday after the Blue Devils escaped with an 80-78 victory.