Imperfection: FSU’s unblemished record gets first loss vs. Oklahoma State
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — A grinning Mitchell Solomon collapsed on his back under the Florida State basket, looking up toward his celebrating Oklahoma State teammates and the scoreboard above them.
Cowboys 71, Seminoles 70.
Solomon scored on a tip-in with 6 seconds left and then happily fell to the floor at the other end of the court when he took a game-clinching charge, and Oklahoma State knocked No. 19 Florida State from the unbeaten ranks Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic.
Florida State went ahead on Terance Mann’s follow with 10 seconds remaining, but Oklahoma State needed only four seconds to go the length of the court to score for the 14th and final lead change.
Following a timeout, the Seminoles’ CJ Walker drove into the lane but collided with Solomon and was called for the foul, sealing the Cowboys’ win.
“I just try to pride myself on playing that way all the time,” Solomon said.
Florida State (9-1) missed a chance to match the best start to a season in school history. Oklahoma State (8-2) ended a streak of seven consecutive losses against ranked teams since February.
“To come out and compete for 40 full minutes — we hadn’t done that yet this year,” Cowboys coach Mike Boynton said. “We beat a really good team today. Florida State is going to win a lot of games in the ACC.”
The Seminoles’ loss left only four unbeaten teams in Division I: Villanova, Arizona State, Miami and TCU.
“We’re in a conference where you can’t get caught up in streaks, because nobody in the ACC is going to go undefeated,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “It doesn’t happen. Tonight we played against a team that played a little better than us.”
Florida State squandered a seven-point lead in the final 8 minutes but still had a chance to go ahead in the final seconds. Oklahoma State forward Jeffrey Carroll said the final sequence starring Solomon at both ends of the court had a cinematic tinge.
“It almost felt like slow motion,” Carroll said, “like a movie almost.”
Boynton said he expected the Seminoles to drive to the lane on their final possession.
“We were just fortunate that Mitch knew the right play,” Boynton said. “He came over and gave up his body, sacrificed for his teammates and got our team a win.”
Solomon had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Carroll, a senior, made his first start of the season and scored 23 points to surpass 1,000 for his career, and was voted the game’s outstanding player
Senior Phil Cofer scored a career-high 22 points for Florida State. Mann, a junior, had 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
The Seminoles committed a season-high 22 turnovers against a variety of Oklahoma State defenses.
“They were extremely prepared,” Hamilton said. “They mixed the defenses up.”
Eight players had two or more turnovers for Florida State. Oklahoma State has forced at least 19 turnovers in each of the past four games.
The Seminoles shot 41 percent and were held well below their scoring average of 87.1 points per game. They were outscored 37-32 in the second half — the first time they’ve been outscored in a half this season.
Florida State also missed three of six free throws in the final 3:20.
The Seminoles fell behind 9-4 for their biggest deficit of the season.
St. John’s transfer Yankuba Sima made his Cowboys debut and had five points in 16 minutes.
Seminoles center Christ Koumadje (foot) dressed but missed his seventh game in a row.
Solomon stood at the end of the bench when he was not in the game.
“I just stand up so my knees don’t get tight and stiffen up,” the senior said.
Said Carroll to Solomon: “You’re getting old.”
Oklahoma State hosts Tulsa on Tuesday.
Florida State hosts Charleston Southern on Monday.
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