V.J. King’s potential game-tying shot in the final seconds was rejected by Florida State’s Terrance Mann and M.J. Walker’s slam on the other end put a cap on an 80-76 Seminole victory over Louisville.
U of L’s first home loss in ACC play also results in the team’s first back-to-back conference losses of 2017-18.
Everything seemed to be going swimmingly for the home team until about the 10-minute mark of the second half when everyone sort of just lost their damn minds at the same time. The ball was stopped moving on offense, assignments kept being blown on defense, guys were being beaten to loose balls; it was all the sort of thing we haven’t seen from this group since the calendar flipped to 2018. Ray Spalding being limited by cramps didn’t help matters either, but that fact should have been offset by each of FSU’s top two scorers being saddled with foul trouble.
When Louisville got its mind right and began competing effectively again, it proved to be too late. A lot of people are going to blame V.J. for this, but there are plenty of directions to point fingers. Also, if Quentin gets called for one of the three extra steps before making his three-pointer in the final minute, or if Florida State doesn’t go ice cold at the free-throw line, we’re never even close to being in position to have a game-tying shot.
The reality of the situation now is that the safety net Louisville had built for itself is gone. There is no more room for error in a game the Cards are expected to win, and the team would also be well-served to score a surprise victory or two during the brutal five-game stretch it has to wind out the regular season.
I’m not really sure what happened to these guys today, and it didn’t seem like they fully understood it either. Whatever it was, with Syracuse coming to town in 48 hours and then follow-up games on Thursday and Sunday, this team doesn’t have much time to pick itself up and figure things out.