Northeastern upsets Florida State 76-73
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s ACC pedigree and recruiting advantage was thought to be enough to overpower Northeastern in the second round of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
They were not.
The Huskies made the long trip from Massachusetts and upset the Seminoles 76-73 on their home court. The mid-major from the Colonial Athletic Association was never overwhelmed as it knocked down shots from all over the arena and kept Florida State from finding a groove of its own Tuesday.
“Luckily we had enough composure down the stretch to earn the victory,” Northeastern coach Bill Coen said. “Very proud of my team and the way they kept themselves together out there.
“To be able to challenge yourself against this level of opponent this early in the season and get some positive results is a huge building block for us.”
David Walker scored 22 points for Northeastern as Quincy Ford finished with 18 points and Scott Eatherton added 16 for the Huskies (2-0). Walker was one shy of his career high.
“I worked on my game a lot this summer,” Ford said. “I have some great teammates that trust me to make some good plays and coach trusts me.”
Ford said of Walker, “He’s just getting better and better.”
Florida State trailed 40-38 at halftime after a half that didn’t have much offensive flow. The Seminoles shot 56.7 percent from the field, but things got choppy after jumping out to an 18-9 lead.
While the FSU offense muddled, the Huskies caught fire from outside. Northeastern hit 7 of 10 3-pointers in the first half and took its first lead after a 16-4 run was capped by a Walker triple from the corner.
The Seminoles went on small runs in the second half, but Northeastern answered every time, including a dunk and subsequent free throw from Walker that gave the Huskies a 69-66 lead they would not relinquish.
Aaron Thomas led Florida State with 24 points as Montay Brandon chipped in 16 and Phil Cofer scored 14.
FSU freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes dribbled into a good look, but missed a 3-pointer as time expired to end the game. Brandon turned over the ball with 40 seconds left on a dribble-drive that left the Seminoles in a three-point hole.
Florida State: The Seminoles had trouble guarding the perimeter for the second consecutive game. Manhattan’s first seven field goals were 3-pointers in the season-opener, but the Jaspers fell back after the long ball stopped falling through the net. Northeastern shot 70 percent from long range in the first half and 40 percent in the second.
“Sometimes you’ve got to give people credit for making shots,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “It’s not as much, sometimes, about what you didn’t do. ... Those guys made those shots. ... They did a very good job of executing, spacing the floor, driving and kicking and they got those shots.
“Tonight was not out night. Tonight they made us pay.”
NORTHEASTERN: The Huskies stayed patient on offense throughout the game and never seemed to force shots, even when Florida State made a run. Northeastern shot 53.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc.
“We want to go out and challenge ourselves against the best,” Coen said. “Their defense can be suffocating.”
Northeastern hosts Navy on Saturday.
Florida State hosts Providence on Saturday.
Rathan-Mayes made his long-anticipated debut Tuesday. He was the star of the 2013 recruiting class, but missed the season because of academics. Rathan-Mayes was forced to sit out the season opener after participating in an unsanctioned event, according to Hamilton. The combo guard was held scoreless on four shots in 16 minutes and dished out three assists with two turnovers.