March 21, 2019 / 9:00 PM / 3 months ago

Florida State puts away Vermont with late surge

Sophomore power forward Mfiondu Kabengele recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Florida State to a 76-69 first-round victory over Vermont on Thursday in West Region play of the NCAA Tournament at Hartford, Conn.

Mar 21, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Vermont Catamounts guard Ben Shungu (24) drives to the basket against Florida State Seminoles guard M.J. Walker (23) during the second half off a game in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Senior guard Terance Mann scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half as the fourth-seeded Seminoles (28-7) controlled the final 11 1/2 minutes.

Florida State will next play No. 12 Murray State in the second round on Saturday. The Racers pulled off the famed 12-5 upset against Marquette, winning 83-64.

Junior forward Anthony Lamb scored 16 points for the 13th-seeded Catamounts (27-7), who drop to 2-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. Sophomore guards Stef Smith and Ben Shungu, along with senior guard Ernie Duncan, all scored 15 points apiece.

Vermont was 16 of 32 from 3-point range but had just seven two-point baskets while shooting 43.4 percent overall. The Catamounts committed 16 turnovers.

“I’ve never seen a team shoot that good from the perimeter,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Vermont in a CBS postgame interview.

The Seminoles had just seven miscues but shot only 38.2 percent from the field, including 3 of 12 from behind the arc.

Florida State senior forward Phil Cofer missed the game with an injured right foot. After the game, Cofer learned that his father died following a lengthy illness.

Vermont led 45-44 after two free throws by Lamb with 11:34 remaining but the Seminoles rattled off six straight points and 11 of the next 14.

Mann scored the go-ahead hoop and Kabengele followed with two free throws. The Catamounts came up empty on the offensive end, and the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Kabengele got loose in transition and slammed home a dunk to give Florida State a 50-45 advantage with 9:02 remaining.

Smith buried a 3-pointer with 8:39 left to pull Vermont within two. But the Seminoles scored the next five points with Mann driving downcourt and slicing through defenders for a layup to make it 55-48 with 6:09 left.

Mann was at it again a short time later as he cut through the lane and switched the ball to his left hand to convert the layup and increase the lead to 59-51 with 4:28 remaining.

Mann and junior guard Trent Forrest later made two free throws apiece as the lead reached 10 for the first time at 68-58 with 1:39 left.

The lead topped out at 13.

Vermont was 7 of 13 from 3-point range in a first half that concluded in a tie at 27.

—Field Level Media

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