In what was possibly the best defensive effort in any half this season, Florida State slapped a suffocating defense on Boston College, holding the Eagles to a season low 17 points on six baskets over the final twenty minutes in beating BC 62-47.
To show just how dominating FSU’s defense was, Rakim Sanders’ basket brought the Eagles to within two points with more than fifteen minutes remaining. The Eagles would score just one more basket until Evan Ravenel scored two baskets in the final thirty eight seconds.
Leading the way on defense for the Seminoles was Solomon Alabi setting a career high in blocked shots with seven.
On the second half defense, “Solomon’s presence inside was a big difference for us,” Leonard Hamilton said after the game.
“We played solid man to man defense and rebounded well. We had guys talking and communicating.”
Chris Singleton (12 points) was active on the defensive side of the floor as well, contributing five steals as part the Eagles’ 19 total turnovers.
Also of note was Ryan Reid’s effort on Joe Trapani. The Eagles’ leading scorer accumulated 14 points by halftime, but the FSU senior forward put the clamps on, holding Trapani to one three point basket in the second half.
For the game the ‘Noles defense held BC to 33%.
The Seminole offense, while not spectacular was efficient enough to get the job done. Shooting 44% overall, FSU was led by Michael Snaer’s 18 points tying his career high.
“You could see it in his eyes before the game,” Hamilton said. “He was determined.”
Added Hamilton, ”We didn’t shoot as well as I would like but we took good shots.”
Following Sanders’ basket to make it 40-38 went on a 10-3 run to lead 50-41 with 12:05 to play highlighted by a steal by Derwin Kitchen who took it the distance lobbing a soft pass to Alabi for the fast break slam dunk.
Over the next six minutes the ‘Noles experienced one of those scoring droughts. But the Eagles were unable to make any baskets, thanks to the tenacious FSU defense settling for just two free throws. The Eagles were stuck on 43 points for more than eight minutes by either getting the shot stuffed in their face, not getting the shot off before the thirty-five second clock sounded, or having their pocket picked.
Snaer ended the drought with six straight points on a layup plus the foul and an NBA range three pointer from above the key giving the Seminoles a 55-43 margin with 5:38 left.
Kitchen’s driving layup at the three minute mark upped the score to 60-43. With how well the FSU defense was playing there, the game was essentially decided on that basket.
Sanders was the only other Eagle in double figures with 12 points.
Tied at 30-all at the half, FSU improves to 16-1 when leading or tied at the half.
The victory improves the Seminoles’ overall record to 18-7, 6-5 in the ACC.
Commenting on the win-one-lose-one pattern his team has followed this season, “Hopefully this win will give us a little more confidence,” Hamilton said in referring to FSU’s next game.
That next game will take place on Wednesday night on the road in Charlottesville to take on the surprising Virginia Cavaliers, who will be playing their third game in five days. Tipoff is at 7 PM and the game is to be shown on ESPNU.