The Daily Nole

No. 11 FSU Holds Off UConn in Newark, 79-71

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Connecticut got off to a strong start in the Never Forget Tribute Classic on Saturday evening in Newark, but in the end, No. 11 Florida State proved to be too much in a 79-71 victory.

The Huskies (7-3) scored the game’s first seven points and led by three just before the 2-minute mark in the first half. That’s when FSU began a 19-2 run that carried over into the early parts of the second to take control of the contest.

The Seminoles (8-1) led 39-33 at the break and by as many as 16 in the second half before UConn began to chip away. The Huskies got as close as five in the final minute and to within six with the ball. Jalen Adams’ shot on glass appeared to have been blocked by FSU’s Terance Mann with under 40 seconds to play, which prompted Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley to get a technical foul when there was no foul call. The technical all but cemented the Florida State victory.

Connecticut guard Alterique Gilbert led all scorers with 24 points in the loss while Mann paced the Seminoles with 20 points and nine rebounds. David Nichols finished with a season-high 16 points for FSU while Mfiondu Kabengele added 15 in the win.

FSU shot nearly 46 percent from the field, but it was the defense that was the story. Florida State held Connecticut to less than 38 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers. The Seminoles gave it away 22 times, but held a slight 38-37 rebounding edge. Christ Koumadje, the 7-foot-4 FSU senior center, finished with game-highs of 11 rebounds and four blocks to go with seven points. FSU guard Trent Forrest finished with five steals to go with eight points.

Gilbert knocked down four of the seven 3-pointers for the Huskies and finished the night 8-for-15 from the field. Gilbert tied Forrest with a game-high five steals. Adams scored 15 points and made a pair of treys in the loss while senior Tarin Smith added 12 points.

FSU will get an extended rest before hosting Southeast Missouri on Dec. 17. UConn returns to action next Saturday against Manhattan.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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