Sophomore Dwayne Bacon scored a team-high 16 points and was one of three Florida State players in double figures, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes (10) and Trent Forrest (10), as the 23rd-ranked Seminoles earned their seventh straight win, 83-66, over Manhattan at the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The victory moves Florida State to 11-1 on the season and marks the best 12-game start since the 2003-04 campaign.
Bacon, who earned Most Valuable Player honors at the event, led the way for the Seminole offense by hitting 4-of-11 from the floor and 8-of-11 at the free throw line in 26 minutes of play, as he has now topped double figures in 21 consecutive contests. Rathan-Mayes was also integral in the Florida State offense, hitting 3-of-6 from the floor, including one from long distance, while handing out a game-high five assists.
Forrest provided Florida State with a scoring punch off the bench, reaching double digits for the second time in his last three games as he finished 4-of-5 from the floor, grabbed three rebounds and finished with three assists. The Seminole trio of Phil Cofer, Jonathan Isaac and Terance Mann narrowly missed double figures as they scored nine points apiece, helping Florida State to finish 27-of-48 (56.3%) from the floor and 27-of-40 (67.5%) at the free throw line.
Isaac was not only a key cog on offense for Florida State, but he also crashed the boards for a game-high nine rebounds, which would have marked his third career double-double. One of eight Seminoles with multiple rebounds, Isaac was joined on the front line by Mann (five rebounds) and Bacon (four).
Holding a 46-41 advantage at the intermission, Bacon was responsible for the first four points of the second half for the Seminoles as the lead reached six in just under two minutes of play. A trey from Manhattan’s Zane Waterman quickly sliced the margin to three, but sound defense by Florida State that included a series of blocks by Jarquez Smith and a pair of steals by Forrest allowed Mann to score four of the next six points as the Seminole lead reached 56-47.
Rathan-Mayes fed his hot-handed teammate, Mann, who converted a layup and added a free throw as Florida State assumed a 12-point lead. Bacon sliced through the Manhattan defense for a pair of layups, stretching the lead to 64-50, as the Seminoles offense found its rhythm.
After a series of buckets by Rathan-Mayes helped provide Florida State with a 70-54 advantage Manhattan scored five unanswered, including a 3-pointer by Calvin Crawford to move within 11 at the 7:36 mark.
The Seminoles amped up their defensive efforts and added four points each by Bacon and Rathan-Mayes, while grabbing seven defensive rebounds and forcing two steals, as they put together a 10-2 run and built an 81-61 lead. Manhattan managed six of the final eight point of the game, receiving five points from Thomas Capuano, to complete the 16-point victory.
Michael Ojo helped get the Florida State rolling early by scoring six of the first 11 points as the Seminoles established a three-point advantage at the 15:50 mark. Cofer came off the bench and made his presence felt immediate in the Florida State lineup, contributing four points in the post, while PJ Savoy knocked down a 3-pointer to highlight a 14-7 run that resulted in a 25-15 Seminole lead.
Manhattan answered by scoring nine of the next 10 points, trimming the lead to two, behind four points from Aaron Walker Jr. and a key 3-pointer from Na’Quan Council. A free throw by Bacon briefly extended the Florida State lead to three before Council knocked down his second from long distance to bring the game to a 27-all deadlock.
Free throws from the combination of Isaac and Cofer brought the game to a 32-32 tie at the 5:18 mark of the opening frame. Those conversions, coupled with free throws by Forrest and Savoy and a layup by Mann highlighted an 8-2 run that stretched the Seminole lead to 42-34 with 1:26 left in the half.
The Jaspers answered by scoring seven of the final 11 points, including three from Council, but a jumper from Forrest as time expired gave Florida State a five-point advantage.
The Seminoles return to action on Monday, Dec. 19, when they host Samford at the Donald L. Tucker Center at 2 p.m.