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Florida State lands four-star 2019 center

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Florida State continues to recruit high-level big men as the Seminoles landed a commitment from 7-foot-0 Class of 2019 center Balsa Koprivica on Friday night.

A four-star prospect who has been nationally-touted since his freshman season, Koprivica is regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2019 recruiting rankings. Koprivica represents an important commitment for the Seminoles since head coach Leonard Hamilton typically loves having 7-footers in his lineup.

Since Florida State didn’t recruit a 7-footer in 2018, and Ikey Obiagu has transferred since his Class of 2017 commitment, Koprivica is an important player for the Seminoles to develop. Given his experience and pedigree, Koprivica could be asked to play in Florida State’s rotation right away as he’s a skilled player near the basket who can rebound.

Koprivica joins a four-man Florida State class that includes four-star wing Patrick Williams and three-star forward Zimife Nowkeji.

One thing to monitor with Koprivica is to see if his name is brought up anymore in the college basketball corruption trial. During the first trial in New York over the past several weeks, Korprivica was one of the players mentioned during evidence. LSU head coach Will Wade spoke with convicted runner Christian Dawkins about Koprivica in a limited capacity in late 2017 in a phone call that was revealed in court.

While Koprivica’s name being mentioned in a phone call involving a convict is not something to be taken lightly, the conversation between Dawkins and Wade featured a lot of gray area. And now Koprivica ended up at Florida State instead of LSU, it’s hard to say if the NCAA will get significantly involved with any kind of investigation.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Florida State beats No. 23 Notre Dame to snap 5-game skid

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dwayne Bacon scored 21 points and Florida State snapped a five-game losing streak with a 77-56 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday.

It was the freshman’s 11th game this season with 20 points or more as the Seminoles (17-12, 7-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) led throughout. The losing streak was Florida State’s longest in nine seasons.

The Seminoles led throughout and at one point were up by 23 points in the second half. Benji Bell added 14 points for Florida State in its second win at home this season against a ranked team.

Demetrius Jackson had 13 points for Notre Dame (19-9, 10-6), which has dropped two of three. Zach Auguste added 12 points and 17 rebounds.

With the score tied at 7, Florida State took control with an 11-3 run. Notre Dame got within 18-17 before the Seminoles ran off seven straight points, the last five from Bell.

A 3-pointer by Bacon with 1:11 remaining gave Florida State its largest lead of the first half at 46-28. A 3-pointer by Jackson to start the second half brought the Irish within 46-33 but they would not draw any closer.


Florida State’s 46 first-half points were its most in an ACC game this season. The previous high was 45 against Virginia Tech on Feb. 20. … Montay Brandon made only his second 3-pointer of the season with 15:25 remaining in the first half. He is 2 of 5 from beyond the arc this season. … Notre Dame shot 20 of 56 from the field, which was a season low (35.6 percent).


Notre Dame: Jackson had four assists to become the 18th player in school history with 300 or more for his career. Jackson has 301 as five of the top 10 players on the career list have been during coach Mike Brey’s tenure.

Florida State: Bacon and Malik Beasley became the second and third players in school history to score over 450 points in their freshman season. Bacon has 457 for the season and Beasley 451. Xavier Rathan-Mayes has the record with 475 last season.


Notre Dame hosts No. 12 Miami on Wednesday.

Florida State hosts Syracuse on March 5.

Allen leads No. 15 Duke past Florida State, 80-65

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke has been dealing with some injured players and even more ranked opponents. The 15th-ranked Blue Devils were emotionally drained – yet they still found enough energy to beat fading Florida State.

Grayson Allen scored 18 points, Brandon Ingram added 16 and Duke defeated the Seminoles 80-65 on Thursday night.

Marshall Plumlee had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who faced an unranked team for the first time since Feb. 6. They played four straight against the Top 25, winning the first three by a combined seven points.

“The emotion that we’ve had to have for these last five games – really, they’re tired,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And you could tell, and it’s not because of being physically out of shape. They’re giving me everything.”

The Blue Devils placed five players in double figures for the first time in league play and forced 14 turnovers while matching a season low with five themselves.

“A good shooting team like this, you can’t give them extra possessions,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We just got beat by a team that played much better than us tonight.”

Luke Kennard finished with 12 points and Matt Jones added 11 in his first game back from injury for Duke, which has won six of seven.

Freshman guard Dwayne Bacon had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 13 and Devon Bookert finished with 10 points for the Seminoles (16-12, 6-10). They have lost a season-worst five straight.

Florida State never got closer than 11 in the second half, the last time coming on Bookert’s jumper at the 10-minute mark. Ingram hit two free throws, Jones hit a 3 and Plumlee followed with a dunk on Jarquez Smith and then a free throw that made it 67-50 with 8:52 remaining.

Duke was coming off a loss at Louisville in which the Blue Devils’ depth issues hurt them.

Jones missed that game with a sprained ankle sustained against North Carolina, effectively leaving Duke with just five players. And then freshman point guard Derryck Thornton missed about 5 minutes of the second half against the Cardinals after injuring his right (shooting) shoulder in a collision with a Louisville player.

“I just feel like we keep getting better and keep getting tougher,” Jones said.

Both played in this one, and Jones started the 24-10 run that gave Duke plenty of breathing room with a 3-pointer with 11 minutes left in the half. Allen capped the burst with a layup on which freshman Malik Beasley was called for goaltending, making it 36-24 with 3:41 before the break.


Chase Jeter came up with the best 4-minute run of his Duke career, by far. In that span the lightly tested freshman drew a charge, grabbed four rebounds, threw down a dunk and had the Cameron Crazies chanting his last name. “That’s everybody’s dream, to be in Cameron and hear the fans chanting your name,” Jeter said.


Florida State: Beasley and Bacon entered as the highest-scoring pair of freshmen in ACC history, combining to average 31.9 points. That was barely better than the combination of Mark Price and John Salley, who scored an average of 31.8 points for Georgia Tech in 1983. … This was the Seminoles’ final regular-season road game.

Duke: The Blue Devils missed their first nine shots, then shot 51 percent the rest of the way. … Allen is on pace to become the ninth player in school history to lead the team in scoring and assists, and the first since Nolan Smith during his ACC player of the year season in 2011. Smith was added to the coaching staff earlier this week and made his coaching debut in this game.


Florida State hosts No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Duke visits Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 17 Louisville runs away from Florida State, 84-65

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Quentin Snider scored 20 points, Damion Lee added 14 and No. 17 Louisville had no problem with Florida State in an 84-65 victory on Wednesday night.

Louisville (15-3, 4-1 ACC) was rarely challenged in winning its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference game, shooting 48 percent while outrebounding Florida State 44-36. Chinanu Onuaku had 14 rebounds and 11 points for his fifth straight double-double, all coming in league play.

Freshman guard Donovan Mitchell added 13 points for the Cardinals, including a monstrous one-handed dunk in the first half that charged a crowd of 21,349 in the late-evening game. Leading 22-15 at that point, Louisville never looked back in building a lead that reached 32.

Malik Beasley scored 23 points and Devon Bookert had 18 in his first start of the season for Florida State (12-6, 2-4), which had its two-game winning streak stopped.

Point guard C.J. Walker verbally commits to Florida State

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The 2015 recruiting class put together by Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton and his staff has been hailed as one of the better hauls in the country, with this talented group (led by Dwayne Bacon) expected to give the program a much-needed boost this coming season. They join a backcourt that has two seniors in Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon, and the point guard position is a spot where Florida State was in need of an addition.

Saturday night the Seminoles landed their point guard, as Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, Indiana) point guard C.J. Walker announced via Twitter that he’s committed to the ACC school. The 6-foot Walker, who was originally a Purdue commit and attends at the same high school that produced former Kentucky forward Trey Lyles, is Florida State’s second commit in the Class of 2016.

Four-star shooting guard Trent Forrest verbally committed to Florida State in early May.

“He’s a left-handed guard who had a really good spring,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said of Walker. “He has the ability to hit shots and also create for others, and he’s really good in pick and roll situations.

“He’s a nice piece for Florida State because it gives them a point guard who can really distribute, and he isn’t afraid to get guys the ball given all the talented wings and two-guards they’ve added in these last few recruiting classes.”

Walker played for the Speice Indy Heat program this spring, averaging 16.8 points and 2.8 assists per game in Nike EYBL play. In 2016 he’ll join a backcourt that is currently filled with underclassmen.

Bookert, Brandon and junior college transfer Benji Bell are the only scholarship upperclassmen on the perimeter, with sophomores Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Robbie Berwick and freshmen Bacon, Malik Beasley and Terance Mann completing the group.

Rathan-Mayes, an ACC All-Freshman Team selection, led Florida State in both scoring and assists in 2014-15.