Josiah Schueneman, 23 Sports Reporter

Mfiondu Kabengele posted a double-double off the bench and No. 9 seeded Florida State used a dominant first half to knock off No. 8 seeded Missouri 67-54 on Friday in the West Region.

Kabengele, along with the entire bench, provided great minutes for the Seminoles. Kabengele filled the stat sheet, tallying 14 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Trent Forrest shot just two of eight from the field, but had his fingerprints all over this one as he recorded 10 points, eight assists, six assists, and three steals. PJ Savoy put up 12 points on three treys from the field, and Phil Cofer added 9 points. As a team, they dished out 18 assists on 21 made field goals. Terance Mann injured his groin in the first half and then aggravated it in the second half. He did not return to the game.

In his final game as a Tiger, Kassius Robertson bounced back with 19 points to the tune of six threes after struggling in the SEC Tournament. Michael Porter Jr. came off the bench in this contest, racking up 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals. He was also likely playing in his final game in college. Kevin Puryear had a respectable night with eight points and five rebounds. Jontay Porter started in the place of Jordan Barnett, who was suspended after being arrested for driving while intoxicated last week, but shot just one of seven from the field. Jeremiah Tilmon played poorly as he had just two points and two rebounds in just 12 minutes of play. The Tigers were dreadful from the field, shooting just 32.7% from field goal range.

Robertson opened the ball game with a triple, helping Missouri score seven of the game’s first eight points. After that point, Florida State took off offensively. They went on an 11-0 run, capped off by PJ Savoy’s three pointer. The run ended up extending to a 20-4 run after a trifecta from Braian Angola. It was all Seminoles in the first half, and they went into halftime with a 42-20 lead. The Tigers started showing signs of life on offense as they began the second half on a 24-8 run and cut the deficit to 52-44. Despite the surge by Missouri, the Seminoles stayed composed, rattling off a 15-0 spurt that stretched the lead back out to double digits and they never looked back the rest of the game.

With the victory, Florida State won their fourth straight NCAA Tournament opener and will move on to face No. 1 seed Xavier in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

For Missouri, they will await the decision for the future of Michael Porter Jr.