Only once in Leonard Hamilton's tenure had FSU lost on senior day, but at a time when the Noles most needed a win, they failed to deliver. The No. 7 ranked Syracuse Orange were healthy for the first time in five games, and that proved too much for FSU to handle. Trailing 47-46 with 12 minutes left in the regular season, the wheels came off and it was all Syracuse down the stretch. The final score was 74-58.
The Noles - picked 9th or 10th by the media - finish at 9-9 in the ACC, and tied for 7th. However, Maryland owns the tie-breaker over FSU thanks to their win over Virginia today, so the Noles will be in the 8/9 game in the ACC Tournament, which will tip at Noon on Thursday. FSU will almost certainly have to advance to the ACCT semi-finals to have a decent shot at making the NCAA tournament.
FSU fell behind 10-4 early, but stormed back behind Okaro White to make it 16-14. But Syracuse was drawing fouls at a rapid rate, and Boris Bojanovsky picked up his critical second foul with 9:27 to go in the half. From there Syracuse went on a 19-11 run to close out the half.
In the second half Syracuse senior C.J. Fair couldn't be stopped. He made his first five shots of the half, and Aaron Thomas could only throw up his hands in frustration after he pinned Fair against the baseline, put a hand in his face, and watched as Fair rose up and drained a jumper from behind the backboard. It was that kind of half for Fair, who scored 22.
But FSU wasn't going down easy. They scored on 9 of their first 12 second half possessions, which is when they cut the lead to one. And that's where Syracuse took over. Cuse dominated the boards all game, and it finally caught up to FSU. In their dominating run to finish the game, the Orange extended five possessions with offensive boards.
Okaro White had a fantastic game, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Ian Miller had 16 points, and Aaron Thomas had 14.
Now the Noles have three days off to prepare for what will have to be their best run of the season.