EditorsNote: rewords fifth, sixth and eighth grafs
No. 13 Florida State held on for a narrow 68-62 home-court victory against rival Miami on Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
The win was needed for the Seminoles (13-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who rose to No. 9 in the nation but were beaten badly on the road in their ACC opener five days earlier against No. 4 Virginia. That loss caused Florida State to drop four spots in the AP poll.
Miami, meanwhile, lost its third straight game to drop to 8-7 overall and 0-3 in the ACC despite a game-high 17 points by guard Chris Lykes.
Florida State was led by guard David Nichols with 13 points, followed by fellow guard P.J. Savoy, who added 10 points. No other Seminoles player scored in double figures, but guard Trent Forrest did hit a shot with less than 30 seconds to play to give his team enough of a cushion to hold on for the win.
Florida State was led on the glass by forward Mfiondu Kabengele, who pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. The Seminoles outrebounded Miami 38-31. Miami didn’t have a single block in the game, and its defense notched only three steals.
The Hurricanes did get solid offensive games from guard Anthony Lawrence with 14 points and center Ebuka Izundu, who added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
After a tight first half and opening 10 minutes of the second half, Seminoles forward Rai’Quan Gray swiped a Miami pass and finished with a thunderous dunk to bring the near-sellout crowd to its feet.
Gray’s steal ignited a 14-4 run that gave the Seminoles a 58-45 lead with 7:15 to play. Miami did go an 8-0 run in the final two minutes to pull to within 64-62 with 40 seconds left, but the Hurricanes didn’t score again.
Florida State took a slim 33-29 lead into halftime after an ugly shooting performance in the first half by both teams from beyond the arc. Miami was 2 of 10 from 3-point range while the Seminoles were 3 of 15 — after starting 0 for 7 — and both teams found themselves in early foul trouble.
Miami shot 15 free throws in the first half, making 13 of those attempts to stay in the game early.
Florida State stays put for its next contest Saturday when No. 1 Duke comes to town.
Miami returns to Coral Gables for its next game and will host Wake Forest.
After Wednesday’s win, Florida State leads the all-time series against the Hurricanes 46-36.
—Field Level Media