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Florida State grinds out a win over Georgia Tech, 57-53

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

If FSU could have played the whole game like the played the final four minutes of each half, then this would have been a laugher. Tied 23-23 in the first half, the Noles scored the final 9 points to take a 32-23 lead into the break. At that point, a 9-point lead seemed huge. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jarquez Smith had both played brilliantly in the first, and the Yellow Jackets were struggling with their half court offense.

But when the 2nd half began, everything went wrong. XRM turned it over. Phil Cofer missed a layup. Devon Bookert had a three go in and out. And Georgia Tech capitalized by unexpectedly turning to a fast break game. It took less than six minutes for Georgia Tech to take the lead.

From there the lead changed hands five times. FSU couldn't get a run going because of sloppy turnovers, and Georgia Tech couldn't put FSU away due to sloppy play of their own.

Then Jarquez Smith went down in a heap, and it looked like Tech was going to walk away in the end.

With Smith on the bench getting his knee worked on, Georgia Tech took a 5-point lead with just over two and a half minutes to play. Phil Cofer missed a dunk but Boris Bojanovsky was there for the rebound and he got hacked. He made both free throws. FSU immediately went back to Bojo after a stop, and again he went to the line and sank two.

With a minute to play, FSU went to the Bojo well again, only this time his dribble was poked away. But Bojo stayed calm, grabbed the ball, and found XRM for the go ahead jumper.

Jarquez came back into the game and immediately picked up a foul on Tech star Marcus Georges-Hunt. Smith made the front end of a 1-and-1 and FSU had a two point lead.

On defense, Montay got called for checking Georges-Hunt, but he missed the free throw and the smallest guy on the court - Devon Bookert - came up with the rebound. He made both free throws and the game was over. The Noles finished both halves on 9-0 runs.

It was FSU's 10th straight win over Georgia Tech, dating back to 2007.

XRM led FSU with 20 points, and also had six rebounds. Jarquez Smith scored 15, at times flashing his great inside-out potential. Montay Brandon had eight rebounds and Devon Bookert led FSU with six assists. On defense FSU came up with nine blocks, and got three each from Jarquez and Bojo.

Now the Noles are 6-7 in ACC play and host last place Boston College on Wednesday.