Tallahassee, Florida- Florida State basketball narrowly escaped Boston University’s surprise with an 81-80 overtime victory. FSU lost a late lead to force overtime, but Matthew Cleveland’s outing bucket with two seconds remaining in overtime gave FSU the victory. It was FSU’s third victory in the past four days. Cleveland and Caleb Mills each had 17 points. FSU has won four straight games and is now 5-1 heading into next week’s game against the top five Purdue Boilermakers.
The victory was much more difficult than it had to be, but FSU achieved the victory without two spinning pieces (including a starter) and playing their third game in the last four days. FSU now holds the all-time college basketball record for most consecutive overtime wins with 12 in a row.
Freshman Jalen Warley made his first career debut with RayQuan Evans unavailable for the Seminoles. Warley had a BU pass on the Terriers’ second possession, which led to a Caleb Mills and one to open the scoring. BU returned the ball on each of his first three possessions. John Butler split two defenders for a dunk to give FSU a 7-6 lead in the media’s first timeout.
The 7’1 freshman has shown a remarkable skill set at the start of the season. Coming out of the break, he showed his three-point shot with a corner triple. The young FSU talent was on display all over the pitch at the start. Matthew Cleveland converted a one-on-one on a float with a defenseman in the face. Veteran Wyatt Wilkes had fun with a triple of his. A withdrawal from Cam’Ron Fletcher gave FSU an 18-12 lead in the U-12 media timeout.
The Terriers missed their first seven three points, but were only trailed by four under 11 minutes. Daman Tate hit a three to reduce the FSU’s lead to one. Ethan Brittain-Watts then converted one and one to cap a 10-0 run and give BU their first lead. The Seminoles responded with a rush of their own. Mills landed his first triple to bring the lead back to FSU. After Warley’s second flight, Mills found Fletcher in transition for one and one:
Mills then hit one of two free throws out of the U8 media timeout to cap a 7-0 FSU run. In the first 12 minutes, the ‘Noles forced seven turnovers.
Malik Osborne and Tanor Ngom both committed two fouls in the first 12 minutes and didn’t see the action for the rest of the half. With Naheem McLeod not available (due to an injury he sustained during pre-game warm-ups), Leonard Hamilton turned to Harrison Prieto on the front row. Brittain-Watts hit a triple back on Prieto out of the break to end FSU’s run. A pair of free throws tied the game at 25 with 6:30 left in the half. Prieto scored from the area with a wide lay-up on a nice pass from Mills:
Mills slipped a big ball into the paint for his second flight. He found Fletcher in transition for a triple to put the ‘Noles up 32-25 at U4 TO. The deep ball capped FSU’s 7-0 second half-time run:
The game of runs continued after the break. Brittian-Watts was the Terrier to end the run again as he knocked down another perimeter shot. 17 minutes later, the young goalkeeper had already equaled his season high in points. Tate’s second three capped an 8-0 run and gave BU a 33-32 lead. Fletcher’s hot shot put FSU back in the lead. Kentucky’s second transfer treble increased their first-half tally to 11.
The Seminoles came in at half time with a 37-35 lead. FSU shot 45% from the field and was 5-11 deep. BU was 48% of the field. 26 of Florida State’s points came from the bench. The ‘Noles forced 10 turnovers, leading to 17 points. But their seven turnovers also led to 14 Terrier points.
Fletcher led the way with 11 points on 4-6 shots. Mills had seven points, four assists and two steals. Osborne, FSU’s top scorer at the start of the game, only played six minutes in the first half.
Mills got the ‘Noles off to a quick start with a back jumper just outside the paint on the first possession out of the locker room. A robbery from Mills led to Anthony Polite’s first triple. Another Mills flight, his fourth, led to an Osborne alley-oop slam. Warley’s first bucket, a lane float, put the Seminoles in a figure of eight in the first half-time media time-out.
BU continued to lag behind and maintain the Seminoles’ single-digit lead despite a strong start to the half. The Terriers’ perimeter shot kept them in the game. Anthony Morales made a three run for his first bucket. Back-to-back buckets from Cleveland, one after an offensive table from Fletcher, took the lead to nine for FSU’s biggest lead at this point. Javante McCoy’s first treble reduced the U12 TO lead to six.
The Terriers continued to hang around as both teams struggled for a lot of offense over the next three minutes. Osborne and Mills produced buckets for the ‘Noles, but Sukhmail Mathon held the FSU lead to six with five consecutive punts. FSU led 59-53 with 7:57 remaining.
Four consecutive second chance points by Osborne and Polite increased the lead to eight. The ‘Noles responded to a BU bucket with back-to-back turnovers, a double dribble and a move. Leonard Hamilton called his second time out with 4:17 remaining and FSU up six.
Out of the time-out, Polite made the game of the match. The senior stood up for a massive block to the rim on a potential dunk that would have reduced the lead to four. Polite then found Cleveland for a layup at the other end to take the lead to eight with just over three minutes to go. BU had to take his last two timeouts as he struggled to get the ball in. After the timeouts, Fletcher forced a turnaround with his length to keep the lead at eight with 1:30 remaining.
McCoy conceded a layup on a pair of Seminoles to reduce the lead to six. Mills suffered a foul late in the shot clock and hit a pair of free throws to reduce the lead to eight with 48 seconds left. Mathon made two free throws just seven seconds later. The door was left open for BU as Fletcher missed the front end of a one-on-one. BU took the opportunity with a triple from McCoy.
FSU were able to move the ball to the frontcourt and gain some time before a pair of free throws from Mills took the lead to five with 16 seconds remaining. Morales made two free throws to make it again a one-possession game with six seconds left. Polite had the chance to freeze the game, but FSU again missed the first game by a one-on-one. Morales sprinted across the floor and hit a triple to send the game into overtime.
BU took the lead early in overtime with a pair of free throws from McCoy. It was the Terriers’ first advance since the start of the first half. Back-to-back missed buckets and two more BU free throws increased the lead to four with just over three minutes left in overtime. Polite ended the FSU drought with a one-time layup. Cleveland slam dunked a bad pass from the Terriers to tie the game at 75.
BU responded with a dunk to regain the lead. Cleveland brought the Tucker Center back to life with a tough finish inside the lane, but he missed the free throw and one to keep the game tied at 77 with 2:15 remaining. On the other side, Mathon was able to convert an and-one after pushing Polite back into the painting. BU led by three with 1:52 remaining. Polite reduced the lead to one as he made a pair of free throws after suffering a foul on the perimeter.
Fletcher did an open layup in and out of the hoop with 44 seconds left. Morales missed a triple at the other end and Mills ran at the other end and threw a jumper towards the glass. Cleveland passed everyone in the paint and handed in a head layup with two seconds remaining.
Cleveland leapt high and intercepted a long back pass to end the game. The freshman was the best player on the field in overtime. He led all scorers with six points on 3-5 shots.
notables of the former USSR
Cleveland: 17 pts (career record), 7 reb (career record tied), 3 ast (career record tied), 2 blk (career record tied)
Mills: 17 pts, 5 ast, 5 stl (high career)
Polished: 11 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl
Fletcher: 11 pts, 5 reb, 1 stl
Osborne: 10 pts, 7 reb
THE SCORE OF THE BOX
Following: The Seminoles will travel to Indiana to face the top five Purdue Boilermakers next Tuesday. The game, which is part of the Big Ten / ACC Challenge, will be on ESPN. Departure is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.