See that smile on Leonard Hamilton’s face? It’s not going away for a long time.
Hamilton watched as No. 20 Florida State manhandled N.C. State Saturday afternoon, 76-62, and pulled off an FSU first. The ‘Noles (19-7, 10-2 in ACC) have now beaten all four of the North Carolina schools (UNC, Duke, Wake and State) for the first time.
Is it any wonder that FSU is leading the ACC and has just one loss since Jan. 10? As Billy Hoyle would say, they’re in the zone, man.
“Being from North Carolina, it’s a big thing” to conquer Tobacco Road, Ian Miller told the AP. “Not a lot of teams have done that. I’m loving it.”
Added junior Michael Snaer: “We’re not from Tobacco Road where everyone pays attention to basketball. There’s an added emotion. You’re up here, and you want to win every single game. All of the North Carolina teams are very strong, so talented, and we want to take the challenge.”
Meeting that challenge is much easier when the Seminoles’ always nasty defense is supplemented by an offense that continues to show signs of potency. They hit 49 percent of their shots, had four guys in double figures and had assists on more than half their baskets.
It’s the first time since a four-game stretch in January that FSU ended the game by scoring more than 1 point per possession. That’s more than a good thing.
It’s a sign next week’s home game against Duke may very well cement their ACC title hopes.
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