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Noles beat Miami at their own game

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After watching FSU make a ridiculous number of jump shots vs Maryland, you had to wonder how long it would take for the Noles to be on the other end of one of those games. Turns out that it took three days. For 36 minutes the Noles completely shut down everyone not named Rion Brown or Donovan Kirk, but those two (29% and 25% 3-pt shooters respectively) made 8-10 3s to give the Canes a 51-50 lead at the final media timeout.

To get there - to be in the lead with less than four to go - Miami had used their quick guards to create dribble penetration in the first half. FSU couldn't recover fast enough off of high ball screens, and Miami's guards were able to get inside the defense and wreck havoc. They also completely controlled the tempo, dragging the game down to a crawl, and they eventually took a 28-24 lead after only a 26 possession half.

Then, in the 2nd half, FSU came out in a zone defense and Miami was flummoxed. Before Jim Larranaga burned a timeout to get his troops together it appeared that they hadn't even discussed the possibility of a zone. The Canes were completely lost on their first four possessions. After the timeout (and a 7-0 FSU run), Miami began to get it together. They were able to collapse the zone and kick it out to their poor shooters who in turn knocked everything down.

Meanwhile, FSU finally figured out Miami's unique and problematic matchup zone. FSU would end up with what will likely be their most efficient half of the season (39 points on 24 possessions) by getting great spacing which created angles to either get the ball to Boris Bojanovsky, or to dribble penetrate. It was really beautiful offense. Bojo's height and passing ability gave FSU skip passes over the collapsing defense, and his ability to get to the rim after high ball screens created at least three alley oops.

But Miami kept scoring. It finally looked like Miami had shot FSU out of the zone when Leonard Hamilton called a timeout with Miami up 48-43. Instead, Miami's 7-footer Tony Jekiri picked up his 4th foul, and the Canes went small. For FSU to keep Bojo on the floor, they had to stay in a zone.

So zone it was, for every possession of the 2nd half. Even FSU's ridiculous offensive efficiency could only cut the lead to 51-50 with less than four minutes to play.

Then Okaro got fouled, and made both. Thomas was fouled, and he made both. The Noles had a 3-pt lead and what happened? - the three point lottery finally stopped coming up Miami's way. They missed five straight 3s and FSU scored on six straight possessions. Game over. The Noles finished on a 13-2 run, winning 63-53.

Aaron Thomas led all Noles with 12 points. Bojo and Devon Bookert each had 11, and Ian Miller had 10 points, six boards, and four assists. This was a 50 possession game, which is exactly what Miami wanted, and the Seminoles won by 10.

FSU is now 12-4, 3-1, and a game behind Syracuse and Pitt in the ACC. After returning to Tallahassee they'll hit the road again for a Saturday game at Virginia.