WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Bernard James scored 15 points while Florida State pulled away in the second half to beat Wake Forest 84-66 on Saturday.
Freshman Ian Miller and Deividas Dulkys each added 14 for the Seminoles (19-7, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who stayed in sole possession of third place in the league by dominating the last-place Demon Deacons (8-19, 1-11) after the break.
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Florida State trailed by two at halftime before using a 13-2 run to push ahead by double figures, then the Seminoles steadily increased the margin by attacking the rim while Wake Forest seemed to grow steadily more passive.
In many ways, it was reminiscent of Florida State’s 85-61 home win against the Demon Deacons on Feb. 1. In that game, the Seminoles scored 54 points in the second half, scored 27 points off 24 turnovers and took a 47-33 rebounding advantage that led to 21 second-chance points.
This time, the Seminoles shot 53 percent in the second half and scored 53 points after the break. In addition, after the Demon Deacons protected the basketball and stayed relatively even on the boards in the first half, the Seminoles controlled the boards while scoring 18 points off nine turnovers after halftime.
Florida State also kept getting point-blank looks by driving the ball into the paint, with Miller’s basket in transition over Ty Walker capping the 13-2 run that gave the Seminoles a 50-39 lead with 12:18 left.
A few minutes later, Okaro White (13 points) had a sequence that illustrated FSU’s attacking mindset. First came his reverse layup in traffic while drawing a foul for a three-point play. Then he stole the inbound pass and beat two Demon Deacons to a loose rebound while falling out of bounds before driving by Travis McKie for a layup to end that possession.
Minutes later, Michael Snaer assisted on White’s short jumper from the left corner, then assisted on James’ layup to make it 67-47 with 6:24 left.
By that point, the Seminoles were on their way to an eighth win in 10 games while sending the Demon Deacons to yet another ugly finish.
McKie had 20 points to lead Wake Forest, which shot just 33 percent. The Demon Deacons — the ACC’s best free-throw shooting team — managed to offset that early by making 14 of 15 from the line to lead for much of the first half. That included bizarre final sequence of the opening half in which Florida State’s Terrance Shannon fouled J.T. Terrell on a hurried 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left.
Terrell made all three free throws for a 33-31 lead, but the freshman followed that by trying to steal the Seminoles’ fullcourt heave and fouling Dulkys as he tried his own desperation shot with 0.1 left on the clock. But Dulkys missed the first two shots before making the third, sending the Demon Deacons into the locker room with a 33-31 lead.
But the Seminoles, who opened the game by missing 10 of 12 shots to give the Demon Deacons some early confidence, quickly asserted themselves in the second half to take back control.