Xavier Rathan-Mayes leads way as Florida State holds off Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Florida State freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 17 points and the Seminoles held on to beat Clemson 59-55 on Monday night.
The Seminoles (10-9, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) saw their 12-point second-half lead cut to 56-55 on Rod Hall’s foul shot with 23.3 seconds left. But Devon Bookert followed with a foul shot and Rathan-Mayes a breakaway layup as Florida State snapped a three-game losing streak.
Clemson (10-8, 2-4) had two chances to tie or pull ahead, first when Hall went to the foul line and missed his first attempt.
Then trailing 57-55, Damarcus Harrison missed a 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
Bookert added 14 points for Florida State, which won its third consecutive game at Littlejohn Coliseum and sixth in its past seven meetings with Clemson.
Hall led Clemson with 12 points, Donte Grantham had 11. The team’s leading scorer, Jaron Blossomgame, was held to 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Florida State looked like it might have an easy finish after stretching its lead to 56-46 on Bookert’s foul shots with 2:39 to play. But Clemson rallied with nine consecutive points to tighten the game.
Florida State has had nine straight winning seasons under coach Leonard Hamilton, yet has struggled in ACC play this season, with its lone league victory coming two weeks back over winless Virginia Tech. The Tigers, meanwhile, came into this one off a dominating victory over Syracuse this past Saturday.
But it was the Seminoles — they’ve won five of their past six over Clemson — who started quick. Rathan-Mayes and Kiel Turpin, the son of former Kentucky All-American Mel Turpin — fueled a 13-3 run over an eight-minute stretch of the opening half.
The 7-foot Turpin had two inside buckets, Rathan-Mayes a basket and when Devon Bookert hit a 3-pointer, Florida State led 26-14.
Clemson picked up a late spark from 6-10 reserve Sidy Djitte, who scored his team’s final eight points of the period as the Tigers cut things to 28-22 at the half.
Florida State: Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton collected two milestones against Clemson. He tied Hugh Durham for second all-time at Florida State with 229 coaching victories and he notched his 100th ACC win.
Clemson: The Tigers had won the rebounding battle in their past four ACC contests. They outrebounded Pittsburgh 39-22 in a victory there on Jan. 10, then did a similar job in their Syracuse win two days ago, outrebounding the Orange 40-30. FSU outrebounded the Tigers 32-31.
Florida State plays at No. 15 North Carolina on Saturday.
Clemson finishes a three-game homestand with Wake Forest on Saturday.