No. 15 Florida State back on track with win at Miami, 75-57
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The Florida State Seminoles knew they were back on track in the final minutes Wednesday night when they nursed a big lead with the arena mostly deserted, aside from clusters of maroon-clad spectators cheering for the visitors.
The Seminoles had sent Miami’s fans home early.
Jonathan Isaac scored 15 points and No. 15 Florida State held the Hurricanes scoreless for more than 6½ minutes in the second half to snap a two-game skid by winning 75-57.
The sellout crowd was raucous until coach Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles pulled away.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to do that, to come on the road and silence an amazing crowd like that,” guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes said. “That’s something Coach L talks about — there’s nothing better than going on the road and silencing the fans.”
The win was a bounce-back game for the Seminoles (19-4, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who lost to unranked teams twice last week after going 5-1 during a stretch against opponents that were all ranked.
“We don’t get down when we falter, because you can’t have a pity party,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got to understand life in the ACC. You’re not going to win them all.”
The Seminoles also snapped a streak of three consecutive losses against Miami (14-7, 4-5).
“Their effort and intensity and execution in the second half kept us from scoring,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. “And we were never able to get stops enough to make a run on our own.”
Florida State shot 52 percent and went 14 for 15 from the free throw line.
The Hurricanes were outscored 44-23 in the second half and lost for only the second time in their past 25 home games. Bruce Brown had 17 points to lead the Hurricanes, who went 2 for 11 from 3-point range and had trouble finding room to maneuver against the taller Seminoles.
“We weren’t getting to the rim and were taking rushed shots,” Brown said.
Florida State held Miami without a point for 6:37 early in the second half, forcing five turnovers while scoring 13 consecutive points to take a 47-36 lead. The Hurricanes were never closer than seven the rest of the way.
Dwayne Bacon had 15 points for the Seminoles. Rathan-Mayes added 13, including three 3-pointers.
Isaac shot 5 for 7 and added seven rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes. The freshman made an acrobatic layup, a 3-pointer and two free throws on consecutive possessions to put the Seminoles ahead 58-46.
“The ball was just finding me, and I was a little more aggressive,” Isaac said.
“When you’re that efficient, that makes you really hard to guard,” Larranaga said.
Florida State trailed by seven points in the first half and was down 34-31 at halftime. Miami took a 36-34 lead a minute into the second half but didn’t score again until the 12:20 mark.
“The second half, our defense tightened up a little bit,” Hamilton said.
Florida State: Hamilton projects that 10 or 11 ACC teams will make the NCAA Tournament. “The quality of our league is at an all-time high,” he said. “I’m not real sure the nation has caught up to what is happening.”
Miami: The young Hurricanes are at the halfway point in their conference season and in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. “It puts us in a position where we need to be very, very hungry from now on,” Larranaga said.
Florida State plays at home Sunday against Clemson.
Miami plays at North Carolina State on Saturday.