Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

FSU's depth pays dividends in NCAA Tournament-opening win over Missouri

FSU's depth pays dividends in NCAA Tournament-opening win over Missouri

Or as coach Leonard Hamilton calls it, a team effort.

The No. 9 Florida State Seminoles won the first-round West Regional matchup 67-54 in Nashville, Tennessee, at Bridgestone Arena. Florida State will move on to face the victor of the contest between sixth-seeded South Florida and No. 11 seed Buffalo.

PJ Savoy had 12 points and Phil Cofer scored 11. A total of 10 different Seminoles scored at least two points - by halftime- as they wore out a Missouri team with only eight players available for this game. "We used that to our advantage". Even with new players and a new coach in Cuonzo Martin, the Tigers head home from their first NCAA appearance since 2013 with the program's fourth straight loss in a first round. Everyone can tell. We had to get back in our flow, work on spacing and get that high-low action and get the ball inside. Two victories at Stanford would move the Tigers to Lexington, Ky., where they could face No. 1 seed Louisville in the Sweet 16. As a team, Missouri is scoring 73.3 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field, 38.5% from behind the arc and 73.6% from the foul line this season.

Michael Porter Jr.'s time at Missouri was very brief this season due to an unfortunate injury that cost him much of the season but that doesn't mean his career in Columbia will also be brief.

That's when Florida State woke up.

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Playing away from home in the first leg is generally considered an advantage, but this will be decided by the luck of the draw. This is the earliest stage of the competition where clubs from the same national association can be drawn against each other.

The Seminoles pulled away — thanks to some Missouri misses and Florida State free throws — jumping the lead back up to an insurmountable 20 points. In just his second game back from back surgery, he said he second-guessed himself. Even with another week of practice since the SEC tournament, he looked rusty. Making just one of his four shot attempts of the first half, the former Washington commit added 16 points and 10 rebounds in the game, shooting just 4-12 from the field.

Missouri, the West region's No.8 seed, showed flashes of promise during Fridays' game, but the Tigers were never able to match the region's No. 9 seed Florida State.

Nevada (28-7) erased a 14-point, second-half deficit and tied it at 68 when Jordan Caroline hit one of two free throws with 3.8 seconds left in regulation. "But when you can't do what you want to physically, it really makes you second-guess your decisions. The best thing we have to do is keep our composure and just keep doing us". "It wasn't enough", senior guard Kassius Robertson said. Martin said after the game that he fully supports whatever decision they make and would advise Porter go to the National Basketball Association if he is indeed a top pick, where he's been projected all year long despite playing in just three games.

"It's tough", Robertson said after the game. "I'll get better at the sport regardless of what I do and coming back to Mizzou would be a real treat". Assuming the Tigers beat Florida State, they are unlikely to come out victorious against (presumably) Virginia in the second round and it's not worth the risk of reaggravating an injury.

Missouri: Waiting to see what Porter decides.

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