As the clock wound down on Florida State's 90-62 victory against 12th-seeded Murray State in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Morant wondered what more he could have done for his team and what could have been.
Gonzaga righted itself and kept Baylor at arm's length, earning a spot in the Sweet 16 against Florida State on Thursday in Anaheim, California.
"I look at their ballclub, and it reminds me of some of our good Creighton teams back when we were in the (Missouri) Valley (Conference)", said OR coach Dana Altman, who coached Creighton from 1994-2010. Morant was the first Division I player to average more than 20 points and 10 assists in a season since the assist statistic became official in 1983. He finished off the first half with a step-back three to give the Racers a 42-35 edge. Trailing 5-4, they scored 21 points on seven treys in a six-minute span to build a 25-12 lead at the midway point of the first quarter. He limped to Murray State's bench with an expression that conveyed some combination of pain and frustration but he stayed in the game.
There's a strong possibility that you had no idea who Ja Morant is prior to his spectacular game in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. But they missed eight of their first nine from distance in the second half and eventually exhausted against the bigger Wolverines. On the first play of the game, he took on a double team and threw a lob to KJ Williams for a dunk.
So who wins Florida State vs. Gonzaga?
Florida State basketball has reached the Sweet 16 once again, and they've done so while dealing with a tragedy in their ranks.
Florida State forward Phil Cofer is home with family mourning the recent loss of his father and will not travel to the next round of the NCAA tournament, coach Leonard Hamilton told ESPN on Monday. The 6-5 Walker and 6-7 Terance Mann drew their share of defensive assignments on Morant.
"And then once you get a great shooting team like that going, and then you're overaggressive trying to take away those threes, then they start slipping", Wright said. "It's just celebrating what a great season we had with my teammates". It's also on fire in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, calling 14 of the Sweet 16 teams correctly. "I think tonight was one of those nights everything that we were doing, we were clicking". The rest of the team didn't fare any better as Murray State shot just 32.8 percent.
"You know, we've had nine or ten different guys lead us in scoring (this season)", Hamilton said. Morant first developed this piece of his repertoire by watching Rajon Rondo growing up and loved how he got his teammates involved.
Morant is still feeling it, and is 4-for-4 with 13 total points, but the Noles are getting back on offense quickly and aren't allowing their backs to get against the wall.