By: Chris Nee | Noles247
January 4, 2019
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (247Sports) -- No. 18/20 Florida State upset No. 7/8 Louisville, 78-65, on Saturday afternoon at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Ky.
The Seminoles (13-2, 3-1 ACC) led throughout the game, including 39-32 at the half, and dominated the second half against the Cardinals (11-3, 2-1 ACC) on their way to the victory.
“Well, I think that our guys showed a level of confidence. Each time the game got close, we stepped up made big shots, executed very well, moved the ball, made the extra pass, and played tremendously unselfish. More than anything else played with a lot of confidence,” Leonard Hamilton said of the Seminoles’ performance.
FSU has now won six in a row on the season.
It marks the first time in program history that FSU has won in back-to-back trips to Louisville. FSU also won at the KFC YUM! Center in 2017. The series dates back to 1968 and spans two conferences, the Metro and the ACC.
FSU has now won two consecutive games in the series, for the first time since earning consecutive victories over Louisville in 1978. The Cardinals still hold a 34-13 advantage in the series.
Saturday’s victory was keyed by a three-headed monster on offense and a great all-around defensive effort.
M.J. Walker, who returned to action after missing the last game with a hip injury, came off the bench to contribute 23 points, a season-high. It was one point off equaling his career-high. Walker hit 5-for-7 from deep. He surpassed 100 career-made 3-point field goals in the game, becoming the 23rd Seminole with 100 or more career 3-point field goals made.
Trent Forrest added a season-high 20 points and Devin Vassell tossed in 14 points.
"I give all credit to Florida State. I thought for, really, the entire game they were the tougher team. I thought our guards got manhandled. They shot over the top of our guards, especially in the second half. They have a really good team. They are really athletic. We knew that coming in,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack said. “We had five first half turnovers and in the second half, we doubled that. We got manhandled. Our guards got pushed around. They got to any spot they wanted to. They ran runner action, just like Kentucky did and they got in the lane and shot over us. Our inability to keep the ball out of the lane, especially in the second half, killed us."
As a team, FSU was 32-for-58 (55.2%) from the floor and 11-for-23 (47.8%) from the perimeter. FSU was also 3-for-5 (60%) at the charity stripe. Thanks to Walker, the bench chipped in 32 points on the day.
FSU had 15 assists, compared to 13 turnovers. FSU also had six steals and six blocks.
Jordan Nwora went off for Louisville, equaling his career-high with 32 points on 15 shots (11-for-15), but his supporting cast lacked on the day. Just one other Cardinal scored in double figures. Their bench combined for just eight total points on the day.
As a team, Louisville was 24-for-62 (38.7%) from the floor and 8-for-19 (42.1%) from deep. They were 9-for-14 (64.3%) at the line.
They had just 12 assists, while committing 16 turnovers. The Cardinals also had five steals and five blocks.
The Cardinals had a 37-31 advantage on the boards. That contributed to their 19-7 advantage in second-chance points.