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FSU's Defense Returns in a 65-59 Win

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Leonard Hamilton's Noles have now won 10 ACC games for three consecutive seasons, a program first. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Leonard Hamilton's Noles have now won 10 ACC games for three consecutive seasons, a program first. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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After an embarrassing defensive effort against Maryland, Florida State came out focused against Miami and limited the Hurricanes to one look at the basket in their 1st five possessions. Meanwhile, FSU couldn’t miss and jumped to a 16-2 lead. After that both teams settled in, and Florida State once again played like a Leonard Hamilton coached team and grinded it out on defense. In the first half they held Miami to just 16 points, which is a conference low for this year. Miami managed 43 in the 2nd half, but FSU did just enough on offense to prevail 65-59 in a 66 possession game.

Miami used a 22-6 run to cut the lead to 3 with :57 left in the game, with several of those 22 points coming off desperation 3s and unintended bank shots. But Okaro White got the last laugh when capped off a great game by hitting the biggest shot of his career – a 12 foot bank shot which ended Miami’s run, and delivered the 10th ACC win for FSU for the 3rd consecutive year.

Deividas Dulkys scored 17 points on 4-7 3pt shooting and is now averaging 15 ppg since Chris Singleton’s injury. Okaro White also scored 17, and has now scored in double digits in four of his past six games. White also led the team with 7 boards. Derwin Kitchen played a steady game with 9 points, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers.

Malcolm Grant scored a game high 19 for Miami, including 17 in the 2nd half. Reggie Johnson had a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards, and kept Miami in the game early in the 2nd half. Miami did a nice job clearing out the backside help and letting Johnson go one-on-one with FSU defenders, none of whom could stop him. After the Noles adjusted they extended their lead back to 19 before Miami’s big run fueled off of 3 pointers.

FSU (20-8, 10-4) is in good position to make their 3rd consecutive NCAA Tournament, and a win in one of the two remaining regular season games would likely lock it up. Florida State  stays at home to play the North Carolina Tarheels on Wednesday night.