No. 20 Florida St. 76, NC State 62

No. 20 Florida State is turning Tobacco Road into its own

personal driveway.

The Seminoles beat North Carolina State 76-62 on Saturday, and

that gave them victories against all four of the state’s Atlantic

Coast Conference schools in the same season for the first time.

Ian Miller scored 17 points, Bernard James had 12 and Okaro

White and Michael Snaer each finished with 10 to help Florida State

(19-7, 10-2) improve to 4-0 against North Carolina’s four

highest-profile programs.

The Seminoles will go for the sweep next Thursday when No. 5

Duke makes a return trip to Tallahassee.

”We’re not from Tobacco Road where everyone pays attention to

basketball,” Snaer said. ”There’s an added emotion. You’re up

here, and you want to win every single game. All of the North

Carolina teams are very strong, so talented, and we want to take

the challenge.”

They never trailed, shot 49 percent, led by double figures for

the entire second half, held N.C. State to 29 percent shooting –

its worst of the season, by far – and forced 17 turnovers. That

helped Florida State win its third straight and remain atop the

league standings.

C.J. Leslie scored 21 points to lead the Wolfpack (18-9, 7-5),

but the rest of the team combined to shoot 9 of 44 in their second

straight loss with both coming to nationally ranked teams in the

span of fewer than 48 hours.

”We have to accept the fact that if you want to play in the

greatest show on Earth, then you better toughen up and you better

man up, pal,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ”There is no

other way to look at it. Teams that get to play in March are

mentally tough enough to withstand most things, and they fight

their way through it. … We’re not there, and we’ve got to get


And making the day even more miserable for the Wolfpack,

ex-players Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani – whose jersey numbers

hang in the RBC Center’s rafters – were ejected from behind the

scorer’s table with about 6 1/2 minutes left by official Karl


Hess declined comment several times when approached after the

game by a reporter for The Associated Press, while Corchiani

tweeted that Hess ”didn’t like fact Googs (and) I told him he was

having a bad day, inconsistent, (and) telling the truth.”

Said Gottfried: ”I don’t have any idea what happened


The Seminoles, who haven’t lost in Raleigh since 2006, have

their defense largely to thank for their latest win here.

They entered allowing teams to shoot just 37 percent –

second-best in the ACC – and clamped down on an N.C. State team

that makes nearly 47 percent of its shots. Much of the Wolfpack’s

offense came from the free throw line, where they were 25 of


Florida State outscored N.C. State 18-9 during an 8 1/2-minute

stretch of the second half, with White’s tip-in with 10 minutes to

play making it a 20-point game for the first time at 57-37.

The Wolfpack cut it to 12 three times, the last on Leslie’s free

throw with 4:25 left. Florida State then re-established its

comfortable lead by reeling off seven quick points, with Miller’s

layup making it 70-51 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

The win was especially sweet for Miller, a native of Charlotte

who finished one point shy of a career high.

”Being from North Carolina, it’s a big thing” to conquer

Tobacco Road, he said. ”Not a lot of teams have done that. I’m

loving it.”

Lorenzo Brown had 12 points and Richard Howell added 11 rebounds

for N.C. State, which hadn’t shot worse than 36.8 percent this

season, against No. 8 North Carolina.

Leading scorer Scott Wood, who averages 13.2 points, finished

with eight on 1-for-10 shooting while hitting his only field goal

with about 6 minutes left. Gottfried said he thought Wood might

have gotten tired.

”You will never see Scott Wood go 1 for 10 again,” Florida

State coach Leonard Hamilton said.

This game matched two teams that were on the opposite ends of

comebacks last time out. Florida State rallied from 15 points down

with 15 minutes left to beat Virginia Tech on Thursday night. A few

hours earlier the Wolfpack took a 20-point lead with 11 1/2 minutes

left against No. 5 Duke, only to allow the Blue Devils to storm

back for a 78-73 win.

”As a team, we didn’t come. We weren’t mentally there,” Leslie

said. ”That’s very important that, as a team, we be on the same

page. We all weren’t on the same page, and we didn’t come out and

act like we wanted to win this game.”

It also marked the midpoint of a brutal stretch for N.C. State,

which in a six-day span was playing all three teams that shared the

ACC lead. The Wolfpack host the Tar Heels on Tuesday night.

Early on, Leslie found a way to produce some offense but didn’t

get much help from his teammates. He hit five of his eight shots in

the first half for 12 points – but the rest of the Wolfpack was a

combined 1 of 21 in the half.

Miller’s 3 with 8 seconds left in the half put Florida State up

by double figures for good, making it 37-26 at the break.