Jordan Pandy, Correspondent (@JordanPandyFS)
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – No. 10 Florida State gets another big win over a ranked opponent beating No. 12 Louisville 73-68. Freshman phenom Jonathan Isaac recorded his third straight double-double – he finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Isaac’s 10th rebound was a timely one, as he grabbed it after Louisville (16-4, 4-3) guard Tony Hicks missed a layup that would have brought the Cardinals within one point of the Seminoles (18-2, 6-1) with less than 30 seconds to play. Isaac had a very efficient game taking just seven shots and going 7-for-7 at the line, including a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch.
The game got a lot closer than those who watched the first couple of minutes might have guessed; the Seminoles started the game on a 14-0 run in the first three minutes of the game. Slowly but surely the Cardinals clawed their way back into the game, but were fought off by Isaac and the rest of the starters towards the end.
“Jonathan has the ability to play the game the right way,” Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“I mean, he only took seven shots. You would think that a guy of his caliber would be a lot more aggressive hunting shots, but with his ability to make shots he never forces the shot.”
One of the more surprising stats of the day was the Florida State bench being outscored – and by a lot. The Louisville bench scored 40 points to the Noles’ 11.
One of the main stories of this Seminoles season has been the success of their bench the “Boom Squad,” as they like to be called, but in this game the starters had to get it done.
“Anyone can step up,” said Terance Mann, who finished with 15 points after going scoreless in the previous game. “Today the starters stepped up and took that role of, ‘we’re going to be the boom squad.’ We’re going to have to do that if they’re not doing it – and if we’re not doing it, then they’re going to have to do it.”
After the victory, the whole team looked both elated and relieved as their gauntlet of six straight ranked opponents was finally over. Through the tough stretch of six games, the Seminoles won five – which is more than some people expected.
“It definitely excites us just because nobody thought we would do the stretch [of games] how we did it,” said Dwayne Bacon who also poured in a game-high 16 points. “I know a couple of guys probably thought we’d be 2-4, or not win any of the games just because of what we did last year. We believe in us and our coaches believe in us.”
Even though the tremendously rough patch of the schedule is over, there are still plenty of worthy opponents that lie ahead. The next three games are on the road, all to teams who have at least two conference wins and are very capable teams.
“In the ACC every night it feels like you’re playing a ranked team so we can’t let up now,” Mann said.
Florida State travels to Georgia Tech in their next game this Wednesday at 7pm.