David Nichols, PJ Savoy lead way as No. 13 FSU edges visiting Miami
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s depth has long been a big part of its success under coach Leonard Hamilton. On a night when fouls limited minutes for a number of players, it was two Seminoles who came off the bench to spark the victory.
David Nichols had 13 points and PJ Savoy scored eight of his 10 in the second half as the reserves helped No. 13 Florida State hold off Miami 68-62 on Wednesday. The Seminoles’ bench contributed 41 points.
Nichols, a graduate transfer from Albany, scored in double figures for the fifth time in seven games. He was an efficient 5 of 8 from the floor with three assists in 22 minutes.
“Being able to score the way he does and then find people has been amazing for us,” Florida State senior Terance Mann said. “And that’s kind of what we needed tonight.”
The Hurricanes used an 8-0 run late to close the gap to 64-62 with 46.4 seconds left, but Trent Forrest‘s putback with 29 seconds remaining gave the Seminoles breathing room. Forrest finished with six points and six rebounds.
Phil Cofer and Mann each added seven points and six rebounds for the Seminoles (12-2, 1-1 ACC).
Chris Lykes scored 17 points and Anthony Lawrence II added 14 for Miami (8-6, 0-3). Ebuka Izundu had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Miami struggled from 3-point range, making just 22 percent (4 of 18) of its shots. Dejan Vasilijevic was averaging 44 percent from 3-point range but was 2 of 6 from beyond the arc in 29 minutes.
The Hurricanes had averaged 10.4 made 3s in its last five games.
“Our guys did a pretty good job defensively,” Hamilton said. “We knew we had to at least do a good job of limiting their percentages. I was very pleased with that.”
Florida State adjusted its rotation frequently on a night when it was called for 20 fouls, including 12 in the first half. The foul trouble neutralized a significant depth advantage over Miami’s eight-man rotation.
The Hurricanes battled back in the second half but didn’t have enough left to overcome a double-digit deficit. Miami only has seven scholarship players available, and six logged 26 minutes or more.
“Everybody in our league just has more guys,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “We only have one big guy in Ebuka Izundu. We have no choice — we have to play small. Not only small but we have to conserve energy.”
Florida State shot 42 percent (27 of 64) from the floor and made 23 percent (6 of 26) of its 3-pointers.
Miami shot 38 percent (20 of 53) from the field.
Florida State picked up its first ACC win but all eyes will be on how the Seminoles look against No. 1 Duke on Saturday. If they play well, they could move up win or lose.
HOME, SWEET HOME
Florida State improved to 8-0 at home this season and 39-2 in Tallahassee since November 2016. The Seminoles are 17-2 in ACC games the last three seasons at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Vasiljevic has made at least one 3-pointer in 28 straight games, an ACC record.
Miami: The Hurricanes have dropped their last three games at Florida State and are 8-31 overall in Tallahassee.
Florida State: The Seminoles have won five straight against teams from the Sunshine State, a streak that includes wins over Florida in November and North Florida in December.
Miami hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.
Florida State hosts Duke on Saturday.
- David Nichols
- Florida State Seminoles
- FOX Sports Florida
- FOX Sports Florida - Gators
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- PJ Savoy