Florida State Seminoles

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No. 10 Florida State hands No. 15 Notre Dame first ACC loss

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Notre Dame shot over 70 percent on 21 3-point shot attempts, but it wasn’t enough as tenth-ranked Florida State became the first ACC team to defeat the Fighting Irish with a 83-80 win Wednesday night in Tallahassee.

Johnathan Isaac had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles, who moved into a tie for the ACC lead along with Notre Dame and North Carolina, which all sport 5-1 league records. The ‘Noles shot 50 percent from the floor and had 39 points off their bench.

The Fighting Irish made 15 of 21 3-point shots on the night, getting six from Matt Farrell and five apiece from VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia.

Florida State continues the ACC gauntlet with a home test against Louisville on Saturday while the Irish have Syracuse in South Bend on Saturday.

Here are three things to takeaway from this win for Leonard Hamilton’s club:

1. Jonathan Isaac, man: He was so good. He finished with 23 points, 10 boards and seven blocks, shooting just 7-for-9 from the floor, but it wasn’t just the plays that he made that were impressive. It was when they came. Isaac buried a pair of threes and sparked a late Florida State flurry that pushed the Seminoles out to a seven-point lead with two minutes left. He had a nasty block on a dunk attempt by V.J. Beachem, and then, after Florida State turned the ball over on their final possession, blocked two shots at the rim to help preserve the victory.

Isaac has had some issues with intensity and aggressiveness this season, and there are questions about whether or not he has the killer instinct to be a star at the next level. Tonight’s performance should quiet some of those doubters, at least for the time being.

2. This was the first time that Notre Dame looked overmatched by size and athleticism: Florida State is big, they’re athletic and they’re versatile. Notre Dame isn’t, and it showed tonight, particularly in the first half. Matt Farrell had five of his six turnovers in the first 20 minutes. As a team, the Irish finished with 18 turnovers, and just seemed to be out sync offensively for much of the game. That’s what Florida State wants to do defensively. That is their game-plan, and it worked quite well on Wednesday.

And yet, Notre Dame was still able to hang around in this one thanks to their ridiculous three-point shooting. They were 15-for-21 from beyond the arc, the 19th team to make 15 threes and shoot better than 70 percent from three since 2010 and the only one of those 19 to lose. There are a couple ways to look at that:

  1. Notre Dame’s fluky shooting kept them from getting exposed against a team that could take advantage of Notre Dame’s weaknesses..
  2. That Florida State was still able to win, and force turnovers on 23.7 percent of the possessions against the nation’s seventh-best team at protecting the ball, says more about the Seminoles than anything else.
  3. These are two excellent basketball teams that traded haymakers for 40 minutes.

No. 3 sounds about right to me.

3. Both of these teams will be in the ACC title race for the long haul: What more do either of them have to prove? Florida State has now beaten Duke and Notre Dame in their last two home games, which sandwiched an impressive performance in a loss at North Carolina. And the Irish? Their three losses this season came against Villanova, Purdue and Florida State by a combined 16 points, none of them coming at home.

No. 11 North Carolina pulls away late, hands No. 9 Florida State first ACC loss

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Joel Berry II scored 26 points and Isaiah Hicks added a career-high 22 points as No. 11 North Carolina protected their home court and handed No. 11 Florida State their first ACC loss of the season.

Florida State got 18 points from Dwayne Bacon while Jonathan Isaac finished with 17 points, 12 boards, three steals and two assists.

Both Florida State and North Carolina are now 4-1 in ACC play, sitting a game behind Notre Dame for first place in the league’s regular season standings.

Here are three things you can takeaway from this game:

1. North Carolina is going to ride their studs: North Carolina has the best one-two punch in the ACC, and they’re going to ride that one-two punch as far as they’ll carry them. Joel Berry II has been simply terrific this season, and Saturday afternoon was no different. He finished with 26 points, getting 17 of them in the first half, including a flurry of eight straight points right before halftime that helped to push North Carolina’s lead to nine.

Justin Jackson was just as good. He had 22 points on Saturday, hitting a number of big shots in the second half, including a pair of run-ending threes and a tough, off-balance runner late in the half that helped hold off a surging Seminoles team. Both Berry and Jackson entered North Carolina as five-star prospects in the same class, and while it took a little bit longer than we expected for them to start to impact the game at that level, they’re doing it now.

2. But their bench is pretty good, too: You know who else was in that recruiting class with Berry and Jackson? Theo Pinson. He, too, was a five-star prospect that hasn’t exactly lived up to that potential during his Tar Heel career. He was dealing with a broken foot earlier in the season, and while he officially returned to the floor last Sunday against N.C. State, his “return” came on Saturday. Pinson had 12 points, 10 boards and three assists, and he was responsible for eight straight points – a rim-rattling dunk, an assist for a three and a three of his own – in an 8-2 run late in the game that turned an 80-76 lead to an 88-78 lead. That statsheet-stuffing role is something that the Tar Heels need, and it looks like Pinson is finally ready to provide it.

Luke Maye also had himself a pretty good game. With Kennedy Meeks struggling with fouls and Tony Bradley out due to a concussion, Maye played arguably his best game as a Tar Heel, notching 15 rebounds and holding his own against Florida State’s much bigger and more athletic front line. Maye is never going to be a star for the Tar Heels, but being able to play the role he played today – a fourth big man that can hold his own – fills a hole on the roster.

3. Don’t let the final margin fool you: Because Florida State was in this thing throughout. Every time North Carolina hit FSU with a run, the Seminoles had an answer despite the fact that Xavier Rathan-Mayes did not play as well as he usually does. I’m not sure Florida State could have been called the favorite to win the ACC, but losing on the road to North Carolina by 13 in a game where the spread in Vegas was seven is not exactly an indictment on the team. They’re a contender that took a competitive loss at the team that is probably the best team in the ACC.

Second-half run powers No. 20 Florida St. over Wake Forest

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State rarely trailed in non-conference play. So when the 20th-ranked Seminoles found themselves down by eight points less than 6 minutes into Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest, coach Leonard Hamilton knew he was going to find out who on his young team could handle playing from behind.

After one test, FSU could say it handled itself well.

After trailing for most of the game, the Seminoles went on a run of 17 straight points over a 4-minute span in the second half as they posted an 88-72 victory over the Demon Deacons.

“I think we are growing and maturing through the process. The quality of our depth was a big factor,” Hamilton said.

Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each scored 23 points and led the Seminoles during the decisive run as Bacon had seven points and Rathan-Mayes five. Florida State trailed 66-61 before making seven straight shots from the field and forcing Wake to commit four turnovers as it took a 78-66 lead with 4:50 remaining.

“We were able to get out and run and play in the full court set. I think we did a really good job of locking in defensively,” said Rathan-Mayes, who had a season-high in points. “Once we were able to do that it sparked our offense and we were able to go on a little bit of a run.”

Jonathan Isaac added 13 points and CJ Walker had 12 for Florida State (12-1, 1-0), which has won nine straight for the first time since 2003-04 and is off to its best start since going 16-1 in 1988-89.

The Demon Deacons (9-3, 0-1) were looking for their first road win in a conference opener since 2006-07 but couldn’t contend with Florida State’s size. Center Doral Moore suffered a leg injury 2 minutes into the game and did not return and leading scorer John Collins was held to two points.

Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford led Wake with 16 points each.

“We definitely let them off the hook,” Woods said. “We were up by one at halftime, then had a five-point lead (in the second half), and they hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond.”

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: If the Demon Deacons are going to be competitive in the conference this season, they can’t have any bad games from Collins. The sophomore forward, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points and 10.4 rebounds, spent most of the second half in foul trouble and was 1 of 3 from the field.

Florida State: Instead of forcing things like they did last season, the Seminoles worked their way back and were able to eventually take control in the second half. Things now get more difficult as five of FSU’s next six opponents are ranked.

MILESTONE

A layup by Rathan-Mayes with 15:47 left in the first half made the junior the 46th player in school history to go over 1,000 points for his career. Rathan-Mayes’ father, Tharon, played at FSU from 1988-90 and scored 1,260 points. According to Florida State, this is the first father-son duo in ACC history to both score 1,000 points.

“It feels amazing. When I committed to Florida State I wanted to do something special in honor of my dad,” Rathan-Mayes said. “Just to be in the 1,000-point club, and be the first father-son duo to do that in ACC history it means the world to me.”

TIP-INS

Bacon has scored in double figures in 23 straight games, which is the longest current streak in the conference. … After making 16 3-pointers in a win over LSU on Dec. 22, Wake Forest was 10 of 21 from the perimeter. It is the fifth time this season they have had 10 or more 3-pointers. … Florida State made its first seven shots from the line but were 16 of 24 the rest of the game.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host Clemson on Saturday in the first of two meetings between the teams this season.

Florida State: The Seminoles have their first ACC road game on Saturday against No. 12 Virginia. FSU has not defeated a ranked conference foe on the road since 2012.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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Bacon leads No. 23 Florida State past Manhattan 83-67

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Florida State Seminoles had a hunch even before they took the court Saturday they might be tested by Manhattan, and they were correct.

“Our locker room is right next to theirs, so we heard them before the game just yelling,” Seminoles guard Dwayne Bacon said. “We recognized they definitely had a lot more energy than we did in the first half.”

Bacon scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half to help No. 23 Florida State pull away for its seventh consecutive victory, beating Manhattan 83-67 in the opening game at the Orange Bowl Classic.

Bacon took only one shot in the first half but embraced coach Leonard Hamilton’s advice to help the Seminoles pull away after halftime.

“Coach Hamilton said I should just go to the middle and attack,” said Bacon, chosen the game’s most valuable player for the second straight year.

The taller Seminoles dominated inside, scoring 46 points in the paint, drawing 31 fouls and building a 36-23 edge in rebounds. They switched to a zone after the Jaspers shot 57 percent to trail 46-41 at halftime.

“A very tough game for us,” Hamilton said. “I thought they were well prepared. We had a hard time staying in front of them. They were a little quicker than we were in the first half. Second half we made some adjustments.”

The Seminoles (11-1) are off to their best start in school history, and the winning streak is their longest since 2012.

“Our team is still young, still growing,” Hamilton said. “We’re very fortunate to be 11-1. I think we have a lot of room for improvement. This is a good game to learn from.”

The Seminoles have won in the one-day Orange Bowl Classic each of the past five seasons.

“They’re a team that’s hard to stop for 40 minutes,” Jaspers coach Steve Masiello said. “They did all the little things I think will make them a tough team the rest of the year.”

Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 10 points and five assists for Florida State. Zavier Turner had 18 points and five assists for Manhattan (3-8), which hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 1995.

Three Jaspers had three or more fouls by halftime, and four finished with four fouls each, but Manhattan’s outside shooting kept the score from being even more lopsided. The Jaspers went 9 for 24 on 3-pointers, and the Seminoles went 2 for 6.

BIG PICTURE

The Seminoles scored at least 83 points for the fourth straight game. They shot 56 percent and went 27 for 40 from the free throw line but fell short of their season scoring average of 89.8.

RUNS

Florida State took a 25-15 lead, then fell behind 32-29 when Turner hit a 3-pointer. Manhattan went without a field goal for the next 6 1/2 minutes.

The Jaspers cut the margin to 46-44 early in the second half, but Florida State then went on a 15-4 run to break the game open.

CLASSIC

Florida, which lost to Florida State on Sunday, played Charlotte in the second game of the doubleheader at the Florida Panthers’ arena.

UP NEXT

Manhattan plays at St. Francis Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Florida State hosts Samford in a Monday afternoon tipoff.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Bacon, Mann lead Florida State past No. 21 Florida, 83-78

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dwayne Bacon scored 24 points, Terrence Mann added 16 and Florida State held on to beat No. 21 Florida 83-78 on Sunday.

Bacon scored nine points during a 15-4 run early in the second half that helped the Seminoles (10-1) take control after it was tied at 38.

Florida State led by 13 midway through the second half before the Gators (7-3) started to slowly chip away. Florida used a 14-5 run to get within three, but could not get closer.

Kasey Hill scored a career-high 21 points for Florida, and KeVaughn Allen added 15. Hill’s previous high was 20 against North Carolina in 2014.

It is Florida State’s third straight win over its in-state rival, which is the first time that has happened in eight years. It is also the Seminoles’ first victory over a ranked nonconference team at home since they beat the Gators on Dec. 7, 2008.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: Coach Mike White said before the game that he wanted to see his team play with more poise and also play with more consistency when it found itself on the other end of a scoring run. This loss proves that the Gators still have a ways to go in that area before they open Southeastern Conference play Dec. 29 at Arkansas.

Florida State: The Seminoles nearly squandered a 13-point lead. But unlike the Temple game, which they lost by three after leading by 18, they were able to hold on and get their third win in non-conference play against a team from a Power Five conference.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Florida could drop out of the Top 25 after dropping both of its games this week. Florida State was ranked for a week in late November and could make a bid to return after winning six straight.

UP NEXT

Florida: The Gators will have their final game of their 11-game road trip to start the season on Saturday against Charlotte in the second game of the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida.

Florida State: The Seminoles have finals this week and do not have their next game until Saturday when they face Manhattan in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Florida State adds four-star center

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Florida State already has four players in its 2017 class. On Monday, the Seminoles added a fifth in Ikechukwu Obiagu.

The 7-foot, four-star center pledged to Noles to give them a defensive stalwart inside.

“First off I would like to thank God for his numerous blessing ins my life,” Obiagu wrote on Twitter. “Also I want to thank my family, my coaches, Greenforest Basketball, Georgia Stars family, big bro Ejike, and my teammates for looking out for me.

“Also thanks to every other school and coaches that recruited me, I can’t thank everybody enough. But I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career at Florida State University.”

Obiagu’ strength is in his rim protection. He’s a shot blocking machine that patrols the paint. On the offensive end, his game is a work in progress.

A consensus top-50 player, Obiagu chose the Noles over offers from the likes of Baylor, Maryland and Georgia Tech.

The Seminoles signed four three-star prospects during the early signing period in power forwards Myatt Wilkes and Raiquan Gray and guards Anthony Polite and Bryan Trimble.