Kabengele, Mann lead Seminoles over Vermont in NCAA tournament

Florida State pulls away late against hot-shooting Catamounts

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Florida State's Mfiondu Kabengele celebrates after he dunks the ball against the Vermont Catamounts during their first-round game of the 2019 NCAA tournament, March 21, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. The Seminoles won the game 76-69.

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.

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