The Daily Nole

Florida State Basketball Loses in Dramatic Fashion 67-65 to Miami Hurricanes athletics

Florida State lost a heartbreaker to rival Miami Hurricanes by a score of 67-65 on Sunday night. A rough first half was followed by an exciting second half that gave FSU fans hope for a comeback. Unfortunately, mistakes in the final minute downed the Seminoles and left them still searching for a big win before the ACC Tournament.

The Seminoles got off to a very rough start with four turnovers in the first few minutes and Miami took advantage. Florida State was down 14-7 at one point, but Benji Bell hit two 3-pointers within 10 seconds of each other to fire up a packed Donald L. Tucker Center. The two teams traded blows until Miami went on a 12-2 late in the half. Florida State was able to keep it within reach, but four missed free throws prevented any sort of momentum swing. At half, it was 37-26.

FSU guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes was largely unable to get it inside to the big men in the first half, and Florida State in general was getting beat up down low. It lost the rebounding margin 20-12 and and points in the paint 14-6. Chris Koumadje had three personal fouls and senior Boris Bojanovsky only mustered two total rebounds.

The two star freshmen for the Seminoles — Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon — combined for only two points and three rebounds at half. Shots from deep were what kept the Seminoles in the game at the break, going 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Not much changed to start the second half, as Miami continued its stretch of dominance on defense. But even with Beasley and Bacon getting stuck, Florida State started to shift momentum and turned it into a 45-43 contest with 11:13 left in the game.

Devon Bookert proved to be the ace-in-the-hole, hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game 50-50 at one point. The teams once again went back and forth, neither getting a commanding lead over the other.

With under 40 seconds remaining, Florida State had the ball down 66-65 a chance to win it. Unfortunately, Rathan-Mayes lost the ball off his foot which rolled out to Bookert, who was forced to heave a desperation trey while falling out of bounds. After Miami split a pair of free throws, Beasley had a look from 35 feet that would have won the contest, but the shot was no good.

Florida State by almost all measures made a furious comeback at the end. It closed the rebounding gap, had more points in the paint (26-22), and more combined blocks and steals. Bacon and Beasley had 13 points in the second half, and Bojanovsky continued to make crucial blocks. It ultimately came down to one last chance, but FSU failed to get a quality shot.

Miami’s leading scorer was guard Sheldon McLellan, who finished with 20 points while Bookert had 14 to lead FSU, shooting 3-for-5 from deep. Dwayne Bacon was the leading rebounder for Florida State with six.

FSU (16-9, 6-7 ACC) will be back in action at home on Wednesday as it faces Georgia Tech. Miami (20-4, 9-3 ACC) will host Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

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