No. 11 Florida State faces Troy after dramatic Purdue win
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If there was ever a victory to set the tone for what Florida State hopes is special season, the Seminoles got it Wednesday night.
No. 11 Florida State (6-1) rallied in the second half against then-No. 19 Purdue to win 73-72 after guard Trent Forrest - who didn't have a single bucket after halftime until 5.2 seconds remained in the game -- hit a jumper in the lane for what proved to be the game-winner.
"You just live for those moments," said Forrest, who also had a decisive steal with under 20 seconds remaining in that game, and he sealed it by stealing the Boilermakers' inbounds pass after his bucket and eliminating a chance at a final shot. "It just shows a lot of what you're made of. If you're a basketball player, you should want to be in those situations."
The Seminoles, whose win in that game marks three straight victories in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, have now had a few days of rest since that euphoric win and must refocus for a Monday matchup with the Troy Trojans (3-4) of nearby Troy, Alabama. The two schools are separated by just 159 miles, but they haven't met much over the years. Monday's game at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee will be just their ninth meeting all-time.
Florida State has dominated the series, however, leading 8-1. And the last time they met was 1977 -- a 110-82 Seminoles win.
"I was just hopeful that we could continue to keep winning while we're developing," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I still don't think we're at the top of our game offensively and defensively. One of our best players (forward Phil Cofer), we're still waiting for him to get healthy."
Troy, which enters Monday's game as a 21 1/2-point underdog, is struggling since opening the season with a 95-60 win against Fort Valley State. The Trojans lost three in a row after that, followed by two wins and are now coming into their duel with the Seminoles fresh off a 79-74 overtime loss to Austin Peay.
"It was a hard-fought game and we knew that it would be," Austin Peay head coach Phil Cunningham said. "We just struggled to make three's; it is hard to win a game when you go 4-of-26 from the three-point line. Give our guys credit for fighting and scrapping and never giving up."
Troy has three players averaging double figures coming into Monday's game: Forward Jordan Varnado (16.1 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game), forward Alex Hicks (12 and 7.3) and guard B.J. Miller (10.9 points per game).
Florida State has two players in double digits through the Seminoles' first seven games: forward Terance Mann with 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, followed by fellow forward Mfiondu Kabengele averaging 11.1 points an outing. Forrest is right behind that duo at 9.9 points per game and a team-high 28 assists.
Florida State moved up four spots in the new Associated Press Top 25 rankings Monday after its second win against a Top 25 team, the first coming in overtime Nov. 23 in the AdvoCare Invitational against then-No. 19 LSU.
Updated December 3, 2018