Seminoles come back from 17-point deficit

 

By Carey Phillips

 

Florida State rallied from a 17-point deficit in the first half Friday to defeat Western Carolina 79-74 in non-conference men’s basketball action.

A crowd of 9,490 at FSU’s Tucker Civic Center saw M.J. Walker and Patrick Williams score 18 points for the Seminoles. Trent Forrest added 16, and Devin Vassell had 10.

Mason Faulkner paced the Catamounts (2-2) with 21 points. Kameron Gibson finished with 15, and Carlos Dotson netted 11.

WCU held a 51-40 lead on Gibson’s three--pointer with 17:34 left in the game.

FSU fought back and cut the gap to 59-57 on Balsa Koprivica’s basket at the 8:45 mark.

Western pushed the margin to 68-62 after Onno Steger’s two foul shots with 5:29 on the clock.

The Seminoles tied at 68-68 on Vassell’s layup with 3:58 to go then took their first lead of the second half at 73-72 when Williams converted a three-point play at the 2:36 mark.

The Cats regained the lead at 74-73 on Dotson’s follow shot with 57 seconds to play, but they failed to score again.

A rebound basket by Williams put FSU ahead to stay, 75-74, with 45 seconds on the clock.

Williams and Walker both hit two free throws in the closing seconds to secure the win.

The Seminoles scored the game’s first seven points, including four by RaiQuan Gray, in the first two minutes.

Western used a 17-2 run, including eight by Faulkner and a pair of three-pointers by Gibson, for a 21-13 lead with 10:06 to go in the first half.

Consecutive three-pointers by Matt Halvorsen extended the margin to 27-14 at the 7:46 mark.

The lead reached 41-24 with 3:41 on the clock as Steger’s three-pointers capped a 9-3 spurt.

FSU ended the half on a 12-2 run, including seven by Forrest, narrowing the deficit to 43-36.

The Seminoles shot 45.5 percent from the floor, including 51.7 percent in the second half. WCU made 45 percent of its attempts, including 51.6 percent in the first half.

Malik Osborne’s nine rebounds helped FSU to a 32-31 edge on the boards. Dotson topped the Cats with eight.

Both teams committed 14 turnovers.

The difference in the game was at the foul line, where the Seminoles went 23 of 28, with Western 11 of 14.

Completing the WCU scoring were Steger and Halvorsen both with nine, Travion McCray with four, Xavier Cork with three and Adam Sledd with two.