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Florida State beats Clemson 59-55

FSU wins at Clemson for the third straight season.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With the defense in shambles, FSU took to the road to face Clemson. In Florida State's only four road games this season, they've lost by an average of more than 12 points, and they entered this game with the worst conference-only defense in the ACC. But Brad Brownell teams have never been renowned for their offensive gifts, and sure enough, FSU was able to take advantage. Clemson didn't score until their sixth possession, and it looked for a while that they wouldn't hit 20 points by halftime.

A late first half run gave the Tigers a bit of life, and they entered the break down 28-22. The second half began with Clemson immediately cutting the lead to two, and it looked like there would be a battle. However, Florida State, led by freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes, exerted themselves and immediately pulled away, spending most of the half with a seven to twelve point lead. Every Clemson run was met with an FSU answer.

After Devon Bookert made two free throws with 2:36 left, Florida State's lead was ten, and it looked like the game was in hand. But a few seconds later FSU failed to grab a rebound on a free throw, and Clemson kicked it out for a 3-pointer. The lead was only six.

FSU missed back to back shots. Clemson knocked down free throws, and it was a four point game.

With 1:09 to play, XRM was trapped on the sideline, and the refs correctly called the ball off Clemson, as multiple replays showed it went off the Clemson player's thigh. But a lengthy review gave the ball back to Clemson, somehow.

Kiel Turpin came up with a big block, but Jaron Blossomgame was there for the tip in. Two-point lead with 0:59 seconds to play. Then we had a freshman moment, when XRM tried to be the hero and put up an 18-foot jumper early in the shot clock. Clemson rebound. Rod Hall made one of two free throws. One-point game.

Then the Tigers made a mistake, fouling Devon Bookert in the back court. Bookert had missed one free throw all season, so of course he knocked them both down missed his second of the year.

Clemson's ball. Final possession. A chance to tie.

Luckily, this is still Brad Brownell's offense, and it's not like they have a ton of options. Demarcus Harrison got a decent look from three to potentially win the game, but it went wide and Jarquez whipped the rebound ahead to XRM for the game-sealing layup. Noles 59-55.

The Noles pick up their first road win of the season, and stop a 3-game losing streak. FSU held Clemson to 55 points in 61 possessions, snapping a ridiculous five game stretch where the defense had given up more than a point per possession. Next up is a trip to North Carolina.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes continued his streak of recent good play, finishing with 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Devon Bookert scored 14.