HARTFORD, Conn. – Tournament basketball usually requires very fast turnarounds.
Once a game is on the books, the winning team must immediately prepare for the next one. Scouting reports must be completed. Players need to be treated to prepare their bodies for a speedy recovery. Coaches need to start communicating strategies and priorities for the next opponent.
That usually happens anyway.
The Florida State men's basketball team had to do something different after their victory on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
With senior newsman Phil Cofer devastated by news of his father's death and news shattered by several teammates, the Seminoles had to suspend their preparation for the Murray state for a while.
"It was never about basketball when we heard about Phil's father," said FSU assistant coach Dennis Gates. "It was about making sure that Phil ̵
Under the guidance of the renowned sports psychologist Joe Carr encouraged the Seminoles players to talk about their emotions. To work through their feelings instead of allowing everything to be okay. Meanwhile, co-trainer Charlton Young stayed at Cofer's side in the "small hours" of Friday morning, Gates said. Young was the assistant coach who recruited Cofer to Florida State five years ago, so that her commitment is unique even in a close team.
Throughout Friday, as the Seminoles conducted, trained and trained their meetings. In other routines, FSU athletic coach Amanda Robinson kept a watchful eye on Cofer to make sure he was hydrated and hydrated.
"And the boys did a good job of always staying in his room," Gates said. "Just around him and around him, not even talking, just letting him in the presence of people who know and love him."
After the FSU coaches had once felt confident that Cofer's needs were met, the Seminoles then delved into the preparations of the Murray state.
At the defensive end, they felt comfortable with their ability to protect almost every player in the squad of racers. The only exception, of course, was the star guard Ja Morant, who is expected to be one of the first players to be selected for the NBA Draft this summer.
"We came to the conclusion that Morant was almost unconscious," said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton. "So we had to make sure we were defending the other guys who fed on him."
And when it came to Morant, the noles decided they were more willing to shoot him from the perimeter let than drive in the paint. They felt it was much more dangerous to dribble onto the basket – either attacking the rim or kicking the ball for open jumps from the team.
So, if one of Morant's teammates came to show him a screen, Perimeter would have the player guarding him "under" the screen to cut off his lane. However, every time they did, Morant stepped back and started a 3-pointer.
He was 3: 3 from a long distance in the first five minutes.
"Have we planned for him to come out and bang Three straight? No, we did not plan that," said Gates, whose job it was to create the scouting report for the Racers. "But we did not want him to have five assists in the first five baskets and get everyone working, a team that's hard to stop when everyone else starts."
So the FSU made an adjustment. After meeting as a staff during the game, the Seminoles decided to go over the screens to prevent Morant from getting open 3-point attempts. And then they stationed their post players farther away from the basket to stop Morant before he got too deep in the paint.
The revised plan worked perfectly.
While Morant scored 28 points and 5 of 6 hit 3 points for the game, he only hit 3 of 15 shots within the arc. And two days after handing over 16 assists in the Racers Marquette race, Morant was credited with only four on Saturday. As a team, Murray State finished only seven.
The Racers shot out of the field in the second half of the Seminoles' 90-72 victory (8: 31) (8: 31).
"We" "I was fifth with two points in the country this year, an increase of around 58 percent," said Murray State Coach Matt McMahon. "They were one of the top teams defending the two-point shot and it made it extremely difficult for us to finish the basketball games, so I think we were under 30 percent in two, which is a big one They are an elite defensive team. "
The Seminoles were indeed dominant at every stage of the game.
They set the Racers ahead by a lead of 45-33, with 15 of these rebounds coming to the country's offensive end. "They just pushed us on the glass in the second half," McMahon said.
The Seminoles also blew up Murray State's defense by scoring 50 percent of their shots in the first half and 51 percent in the second half. Although he played without Cofer and replacement guard David Nichols, who had a sprained ankle, the FSU opened at half time a margin of 18 points and eventually led 31 points even though she was favored with only five points.
It was Total Dominance
"This game was for Phil-Phil and his family," said Redshirt striker RaiQuan Gray, who started at Cofer's and scored 11 points with 5 steals and 3 rebounds. "We were motivated, we knew we had to win this game for him, he had the whole game in mind, so we just wanted to play it through, play for him and win for him."
Gates said, "Whenever you go through a traumatic situation, it either ties a team or breaks a team, and I think we have so much team-mate – we've worked so much on our team dynamics – that it's only going to bring us closer together. "
This was revealed on Saturday when the 28-point margin of the win was the FSU's second largest game in the NCAA tournament game. Seminoles, promoted to Elite Eight in 1993, holds the school record by defeating Tulane at 31 in the second round.
Saturday's performance was particularly rewarding for Hamilton, as he felt that his players have increased their efforts and execution honoring their teammate Phil Cofer and his late father Mike, a former Pro Bowl linebacker in the NFL to pay due respect.
"With all the challenges he faced, he stood tall and struggled with tenacity and aggressiveness," Hamilton said of Mike Cofer's long illness. "And when you see Phil play, how he acts, how he responds to challenges, you see Mike Cofer, and I thought our kids had decided tonight what we wanted to play for – slightly bigger than ourselves and bigger than us And I think that's why you've seen our boys so focused …
"They're brothers. You are a family. And I think we feed each other. And if someone hurts, I think we all hurt. "
Hamilton said the Seminoles had dedicated the remainder of their season to the Cofers' honors, with players and coaches wearing black ribbons with the initials" MC. "During Saturday's game, some players wrote motivational messages in their shoes.
The chief Terance Mann also found other ways to show his respect.
Before the game began, Cofer first consoled himself when he became emotional while playing the national anthem.
When the game began, played Man with a cruelty that can only be described as inspired: He and his striker Mfiondu Kabengele combined for 40 points and 15 rebounds, and Mann also has six assists.
After one of his dunks in the second half, Mann took a look at his Emotions, growling towards the players of Murray State It might not be a direct salute to the memory of Mike Cofer, it could easily have been.
As a man his e He actually went online and began watching old Cofer video clips with the Detroit Lions. He'd heard stories from Phil about how hard the older Cofer was playing. how relentless and physically he was.
And the more man watching, the more he wanted to bring that stubbornness against Murray State to the XL Arena.
"What I did the night before was Google and YouTube, Mike Cofer, my The father of the teammate who passed and just saw how hard he played, how much fighting he has done on the field" said man. "And I just wanted to bring that in. And I feel like I did it today, I've got my heart out of it."
He was not alone.
And more importantly, Mike was not Cofer's son either.
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