When these two teams met at Littlejohn Coliseum, Florida State held a comfortable lead for 18 minutes of the 2nd half. Then they collapsed. The problem, for Clemson, was that they couldn't take advantage and they let the Noles sneak off with a win.
Tonight, Clemson held a comfortable lead for 18 minutes of the 2nd half. Then they collapsed. The problem, for Florida State, was that they couldn't take advantage and they let the Tigers sneak off with a win.
The tone for the game was set in the first half with the Noles up two. Xavier Rathan-Mayes stole the ball, and then on the ensuing break he made a mind numbingly poor decision to go with a flashy no-look scoop pass which was promptly stolen by Clemson and sent the other way. Coach Hamilton pulled him immediately, and sat him for several minutes.
The Noles, while he was out, struggled, and Clemson was able to build a six point lead at the break.
Having XRM back didn't help the Noles chances any in the 2nd though, as Clemson controlled what was a typical Clemson-FSU battle. That is, it was ugly. The teams combined for 31 turnovers and 20 missed free throws.
Clemson was up 9 with with two minutes to play, when FSU started fouling. Jaron Blossomgame started out alright, making 3-4, but then Josh Smith missed two and Devon Bookert knocked down a three after back-to-back offensive rebounds for FSU and the lead was six.
Jordan Roper made 1-2, and Florida State grabbed another couple of offensive boards before Boris Bojanovsky scored a bucket to cut it to five.
Clemson missed two more free throws, and then committed a foul that makes coaches lose their hair: they hit XRM while he was shooting a three. Luckily for Clemson, the ball went halfway down before it popped out. Otherwise it could have been a four point play.
But typifying the night for FSU, XRM made just 1-3 free throws. Two possessions later, with the game still at four, XRM had another chance to cut it to a one point game with a three pointer, but this one was just long.
Clemson held on for the win, 62-56.
XRM led the Noles with 15 points, but shot just 5-13 from the floor. Bojo had a very solid game, finishing with 13 points and 10 boards for his 3rd double-double. Devon Bookert made 2-4 3s and finished with 10.
The Noles now travel to Virginia Tech, who just lost an absolutely heartbreaker against Syracuse.