HARTFORD, Conn. — Mfiondu Kabengele had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Florida State held off a barrage of 3-pointers from 13th-seeded Vermont in a 76-69 victory Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional.
Terance Mann added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Seminoles (28-7), who were tied with the Catamounts at halftime but pulled away late.
Anthony Lamb had 16 points to lead a balanced, long-range attack for Vermont (27-7), which lost for the first time in seven games. Three Catamounts finished with 15 points.
The America East champions went small — no starter stood over 6-foot-6 — and stayed close by hitting 16 of 32 3-point attempts. The Seminoles countered by wearing out Vermont down low, outscoring the Catamounts 30-14 in the paint.
A dunk by Kabengele gave Florida State a 50-45 lead with nine minutes left, part of a 6-0 run that put the Seminoles ahead for good. Another by the 6-10 sophomore made it 61-53, and the cheers of Vermont fans, who made the four-hour drive south from Burlington, gave way to the tomahawk chop from behind Florida State's bench.
Florida State led by 12 with just over a minute left and withstood a late run by Vermont.
Vermont: Ernie Duncan, Everett Duncan and Robin Duncan became the first trio of brothers to ever play in the same NCAA Tournament game. Ernie, a senior, finished with 15 points. Everett, a junior, had three, and freshman Robin scored one. Vermont officials say the Duncans are just the fifth trio to play on the same Division I men's team
Florida State: The win was the 20th for the Seminoles (20-15) in the NCAA Tournament, where they will be looking to advance the Regional semifinals for a sixth time (1972, 1992, 1993, 2011 and 2018).
Florida State will play either Murray State or Marquette in the second round on Saturday