Miami-Florida St. Preview
Miami bottled up Florida State's freshman scoring duo of Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon the first time these teams met while also getting a huge second-half effort from Sheldon McClellan.
The 12th-ranked Hurricanes will try to duplicate that effort on the road in Sunday night's rematch against the improving Seminoles.
Miami (19-4, 8-3 ACC) was also ranked No. 12 for its 72-59 home victory over Florida State on Jan. 9. Beasley and Bacon combined for 23 points on 9-of-28 shooting; they form the highest-scoring freshman tandem in the country with a combined average of 33.2 points.
McClellan also keyed that victory by making all seven shots after halftime after missing his first four attempts, scoring 20 of his 21 points in the second half. He's averaging 17.7 points in three games against the Seminoles.
"This is our second time playing Florida State," McClellan said. "So I'm pretty sure they know what we do, we know what they do so it's about whoever makes the most plays on the court."
That may not be the case since Florida State (16-8, 6-6) has shown improvement with a four-game win streak that ended with Thursday's 85-72 loss at Syracuse. The Seminoles are shooting 47.2 percent in a 6-3 stretch since they connected at a season-low 35.4 percent versus the Hurricanes.
Beasley and Bacon combine to shoot 51.2 percent at home, where Florida State is 8-2 with a win over current-No. 7 Virginia.
"They are such an improved team, a very talented team and a team that plays better at home than they do on the road," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "They've changed quite a bit since the first time that we played them."
Beasley is among the top guards in the conference at 50 percent from the field, with McClellan ranking No. 1 at 53.4. McClellan will look to bounce back after being held to 10 points for his lowest effort in an ACC game in Tuesday's 65-63 win over Pittsburgh.
The Hurricanes trailed at halftime in a contest that was tight throughout, with Angel Rodriguez scoring on an offensive rebound with 1.4 seconds left for the winning basket. Rodriguez, who fouled out in 24 scoreless minutes two days earlier in a win at Georgia Tech, scored a game-high 17.
Center Tonye Jekiri added his fourth double-double with 10 points and 10 boards in 25 foul-plagued minutes. The 7-footer, among the league leaders with 9.8 rebounds per game, was a big factor last month against the Seminoles with eight points and 10 boards.
''He has such a big impact on the defensive end,'' Larranaga said. ''There are plays he makes that there is no statistical category for.''
Beasley and Bacon will try to shake off a rough night against the Orange, as they totaled 25 points on 8-of-28 shooting. Coach Leonard Hamilton was more upset over the defensive effort as Syracuse shot 62.0 percent for the worst mark allowed by the Seminoles in three seasons.
''I was very disappointed in our defensive field-goal percentage,'' Hamilton said. ''They took advantage of every defensive breakdown."
The Hurricanes are hopeful that reserve guard Ivan Cruz Uceda will return after missing the Pitt game with the flu.