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FSU's tourney run ends in heartbreak, Michigan punches Final Four ticket in 58-54 victory

(WCTV)
Published: Mar. 24, 2018 at 11:14 PM EDT
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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports

March 24, 2018

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (WCTV) — The Florida State Seminoles couldn't overcome a poor start to the second half as the Michigan Wolverines punched their ticket to the Final Four in a 58-54 win on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Michigan came out of the second half firing on all cylinders, holding FSU scoreless for over 12 minutes to end the first and open the second and going on runs of 7-2 and 11-0 to take a 10 point lead in the early stages of the half.

FSU made a habit of going on mini-runs of four or five points to trim into the Michigan lead, but they were unable to fully close the gap and force a tie or take a lead in the second half.

In the middle stretch of the half, the Noles went over seven and a half minutes without hitting a shot from the floor, and at one point went on a stretch of scoring eight straight points from the free throw line. All the while, as the game approached it’s final moments, Michigan went on a 7-0 run to take a 54-44 lead with just over two minutes to play.

But, following a time out, the Noles weathered the storm and got hot, going on an 8-1 run, including a PJ Savoy three pointer to make it 55-52 with 1:06 to play.

FSU kept hitting shots to make it a two-point game, but was forced to foul Michigan to stop the clock and put them at the line. In the closing seconds, the Noles shot up a desperation three, but Michigan came down with the rebound and the Seminoles refused to foul as the Wolverines closed it out.

It was a slow start for the Seminoles, who struggled to find their footing in the game in the opening five minutes as the Wolverines came out with efficient offense and a stingy defense to take an early 10-4 lead, holding the Noles to just 25 percent shooting from the floor early.

That trend wouldn’t continue, as FSU was able to get into the game before Michigan had a chance to break it open early, and used a 7-0 run to erase a six-point Michigan lead and take a 19-17 lead in the middle stages of the first half.

Neither FSU nor Michigan really found an edge over the other in the first half, as the game went into halftime with the Wolverines leading 27-26.

As a team, FSU shot 32.7 from the floor and 25 percent from three, while turning the ball over 15 times and winning the rebounding battle 36-33.

Phil Cofer led all Noles’ scorers with 16 points while Charles Matthews led all scorers with 17.

The magical run for the Seminoles ends in heartbreak in L.A., while Michigan will head to the Final Four in San Antonio for the first time since 2013 and will face Loyola-Chicago.