NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Once Terance Mann sorted out his torn jersey, he powered Florida State to another victory.
Mann scored 20 points, reserve David Nichols had 16 and the 11th-ranked Seminoles beat Connecticut 79-71 on Saturday night in the second game of the Never Forget Tribute Classic.
Mann departed after his jersey got ripped early in the second half. But he came back and helped Florida State close out its third straight win.
“Well, it was a very aggressive game, and I don’t know how it got torn,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I would like for him (Mann) to have stayed in the game. I thought it was unusual. The referee said it could be a hazard. … That was his story, and I guess he stuck with it.”
Mfiondu Kabengele added 15 points for Florida State (8-1), and Christ Koumadje finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Alterique Gilbert led UConn (7-3) with 24 points. Jalen Adams had 15, and Tarin Smith finished with 12 points.
The loss ruined the homecoming for first-year Connecticut coach Dan Hurley, son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley. Dan Hurley coached at nearby St. Benedict’s High School in Newark before entering the college ranks in 2010 at Wagner.
“The accommodations were nicer, I ate better, better locker room,” Hurley joked. “No, it was cool. It was fun. To be honest with you, I thought during the anthem I’d kind of like soak it in a little bit more, but we were so locked in.
“We wanted to start fast, which we did. You got to appreciate the journey you’re on in life, and it would have been great to come here and get a win, but tough loss now, but it was nice getting home.”
The Huskies scored five straight points to close to 72-67 with a 1:17 to play, but Florida State went 7 for 9 at the line in the final minute.
The Seminoles opened the second half with a 10-1 run to increase their lead to 49-34 with 17:26 to play. Mann contributed seven of those points.
“We kind of ditched what we normally like to do because their defense was so good,” Hamilton said. “And we just spread the floor and used ball screens to try to attack the basket and tried to play off of each other because they had us well scouted.”
Connecticut: It has been a tough stretch for the Huskies, dropping two of their last three games. They lost to Arizona 76-72 before defeating Lafayette 90-63.
Florida State: Mann became the 47th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points. He now has 1,009 points.
Florida State doesn’t play again until Dec. 17 when it hosts Southeast Missouri.
Connecticut is home to Manhattan on Dec. 15.
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