CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Not even a smack in the nose could stop 5-foot-7 Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes against Florida State.
The freshman dynamo scored a season-high 18 points and shook off an accidental blow to the face, helping the No. 15 Hurricanes withstand a late rally from the No. 24 Seminoles to win 80-74 on Sunday.
Lykes was hit — with no foul called — as he drove for a layup midway through the second half. Dazed, he didn’t even see his shot go in.
“I just heard the crowd,” he said. “I got hit in my nose, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose for a minute.”
He quickly went to the dressing room accompanied by a trainer, but was back in the game moments later. His jumper to beat the shot clock with 4 minutes left slowed Florida State’s comeback.
Lykes finished 6 for 10 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers and baskets on two acrobatic drives.
“I told everybody before the season, don’t sleep on him,” teammate Bruce Brown said. “He does it in practice. I knew it was a matter of time before he did it in a game.”
Brown scored a season-high 23 points and Dewan Huell had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Hurricanes, who took the lead for good in the early minutes and made 13 of their first 14 shots.
The Hurricanes (13-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their first home game since Dec. 5. Florida State (12-3, 1-2) lost for the third time in the past six games.
Lykes made two highlight plays in the first half. He drove into the lane and scooped in a shot from knee level, and in the final seconds weaved past two defenders for a reverse layup to give Miami its largest lead of the half, 45-32.
“I know my teammates believe in me a lot,” Lykes said. “I just try to bring energy off the bench and make the right plays.”
Florida State cut a 16-point second-half deficit to four with 24 seconds left. Braian Angola then made a backcourt steal but missed a 3-pointer that would have left the Seminoles trailing by one.
Brown made five of six free throws in the final 45 seconds and finished 12-for-14 at the line.
“It was two Top 25 teams going at each other,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
Angola had 16 points and five steals for Florida State, which shot a season-low 36 percent. Miami, ranked second nationally in scoring defense, held the Seminoles below their season average of 85.4.
“In the second half we were a little more aggressive,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “But we had dug such a hole, it was hard to pull out of it.”
POUNDING THE BOARDS
Rebounding kept the taller Seminoles in the game. They had a 44-32 edge, with 21 offensive rebounds, and outscored Miami 13-2 on second-chance points. Freshman Mfiondu Kabengele tied a season high with 12 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Christ Koumadje returned from a foot injury that had sidelined him since the third game of the season. He had eight rebounds and five points in 13 minutes.
Larranaga said Brown and the other Hurricanes shot poorly in practice Saturday. Later, Larranaga phoned Brown and recommended he watch video highlights of himself to restore his confidence.
“Right after the game, he said, ‘I did,'” Larranaga said with a laugh. “Guys just need to think positively.”
Highly touted Hurricanes freshman Lonnie Walker IV started for only the second time this season, but that didn’t help him shake a slump. He hit a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession but finished with only five points in 15 minutes.
The Hurricanes beat a ranked team for the second time this season. They won at then-No. 12 Minnesota on Nov. 29.
The Seminoles, who made 45 3-pointers in their three previous games, went 5 for 24 from beyond the arc.
Fans near the Seminoles bench taunted them regarding the recent departure of their football coach, chanting “Jimbo left you!”
The Hurricanes began a stretch of three consecutive games against ranked teams. They play at No. 25 Clemson on Saturday and face No. 2 Duke at home on Nov. 15.
“I ain’t looking ahead,” Larranaga said, “except to dinner.”
Florida State will try to bounce back from the loss when it faces Louisville at home on Wednesday.
“You can’t sit around and have a pity party,” Hamilton said.