Florida State dropped their first game of the season to Northeastern 76-73. Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who made his Florida State debut, had his game tying three-pointer rim out at the last second. Florida State led by 5 with 13:23 left in the game, but did not score again until the 7:24 mark. This allowed Northeastern to climb back into the game. Florida State led by three at the 4:33 mark, but Northeastern quickly took the lead and never relinquished it.
The Seminoles played well on offense at times, but had trouble at the three-point line and the free throw line. Aaron Thomas played well going for 24 points and 6 rebounds, but turned the ball over a team high 7 times. Montay Brandon was 8-8 from the floor with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Freshman Phil Cofer also put in an excellent effort with 14 points and 5 rebounds.
Head coach Leonard Hamilton was very pleased by what he saw from Cofer.
“Phil has demonstrated to us, day in and day out, that he’s going to give us 100 percent,” Hamilton said.
The defense was a different story, especially on the perimeter. Northeastern hit 53.8-percent of their shots from the floor, including 9-15 from the three-point line. The Huskies were also 11-14 from the free throw line. Florida State, despite having three players over seven feet tall on the roster, went even with Northeastern on the boards, 30-30.
Aaron Thomas believes the defense lacked discipline when defending the three-point line.
“It’s just not being disciplined on shooters,” Thomas said. “We can’t close out on shooters every now and then. We have to do it all the time. I think we did a good job of that at the beginning, but once we lost our discipline they were able to hit shots.”
This is a very tough loss for the team. Not because Northeastern is a bad team, but because the Seminoles need to win as many nonconference games as they can before ACC play. Northeastern is a likely tournament team and a win over them would have proven extremely valuable when it comes time for the NCAA tournament. This is the type of game the Seminoles need to win if they want to end their NCAA tournament drought.
Coach Hamilton believes that this loss will help the team as they move forward through the season.
“This loss hopefully will be more meaningful than if we had played a team and won by 25-30 points,” Hamilton said. “Maybe this loss will be a lot more meaningful as we move through the season because this team executed so well. They made us pay every time we made a defensive mistake. It pointed out some areas of our game that we need to continue to improve on.”
Florida State falls to 1-1 on the season and will travel to Connecticut to play Providence on Sunday.