TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — This time, Miami didn’t squander an 11-point halftime lead at Florida State. But it was close.
Despite not making a field goal for the final 4:23, the 12th-ranked Hurricanes fought off a second-half rally from the Seminoles to win 67-65 on Sunday night. It was Miami’s third straight victory over its state rival and it avenged a one-point loss at the Tucker Center last season.
"Last year we were winning the whole game and then in the second half we let it slip and they ended up winning it," said Miami guard Angel Rodriguez, who had 11 points. "This time we were poised down the stretch as our experience and maturity kicked in."
The Hurricanes (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won four in a row and seven of eight. They trail first-place North Carolina by a game in the ACC standings.
The victory also gave Miami its fourth 20-win season in Jim Larranaga’s five years as coach.
Miami led by four with less than a minute remaining when Dwayne Bacon’s 3-pointer brought the Seminoles to 66-65. After Davon Reed (14 points) missed a 3, Florida State had a chance to go ahead but Devon Bookert missed an off-balance 3 from the corner.
Ja’Quan Newton hit one of two free throws for Miami, leaving Florida State one last chance, but Malik Beasley missed a 30-footer that would have won it.
"We had our most veteran lineup out there — four guards and Tonye Jekiri. That’s the group that’s been finishing games all season long," Larranaga said. "We felt sure that Florida State would make a run. It would be whether we could sustain that run and come back at them again."
Sheldon McClellan, who scored a game-high 20 points, gave the Hurricanes a 63-57 lead with a 3. Miami was 0 for 4 from the field and committed two turnovers the rest of the way but went 4 of 5 from the foul line. During that same stretch the Seminoles were 3 of 9 from the line and had a turnover.
Bookert led Florida State (16-9, 6-7) with 14 points, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 12. Bacon and Beasley, who came into the game averaging a combined 33.2 points as the ACC’s top freshman duo, were held to 15 — nine for Bacon.
Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton was hoping Bacon would have had a shot on the final possession.
"As the game was winding down, we felt that we could not have been in a better position — down one with a guy who’s won two games with us with the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it," Hamilton said. "I would have liked to have seen him keep the ball."
Miami jumped out to an 11-2 lead and was up by seven before Florida State scored eight straight points — consecutive 3-pointers by Benji Bell and Terance Mann’s jumper — to take a 15-14 advantage with 10:13 remaining. After the score was tied at 17, the Hurricanes regained control with a 17-5 run and built their largest lead of the half (34-22) with 1:49 remaining.
Jekiri’s layup gave Miami its biggest lead (39-26) before Florida State started coming back. After trailing 45-36, the Seminoles made a 14-5 run to tie it at 50 on Bookert’s 3-pointer with 8:44 remaining.
Florida State, though, was never able to regain the lead.
Miami: Reed has hit 48.3 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range in the past six games. The junior is averaging 12.5 points during that span. In the first six ACC games he was shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 9.2 points
Florida State: Beasley, who had six points, saw his double-figure scoring streak end at 24 games, which is tied for the second-longest in ACC history for a player at the start of his collegiate career. Stephon Marbury has the record at 26 during the 1995-96 season at Georgia Tech, and Jahlil Okafor also had 24 last season for Duke.