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Noles fall 74-72 as No. 20 Pitt rallies in 2nd half

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

This was a tale of two halves, and it didn't end well for Florida State.

After weathering another slow start, the Noles outscored Pitt 38-24 over the final 14 minutes of the first half to take a 10-point lead at the break. Everything went well, with six players scoring at least four points in the half. The Noles went 7-7 from the line, made 4-8 3s, and were able to take a double digit lead despite Pitt making 5-12 3s of their own.

Most importantly, no players on FSU's short roster were in foul trouble.

Then the 2nd half started, and everything went Pitt's way.

They began the half on a 12-5 run and rapidly began drawing fouls. They were in the bonus with over 10 minutes left, and would shoot 16 FTs in the half.

Florida State attempted to mix in some zone looks to protect players, but the Panthers had no issues solving the soft zone, making 5-11 3s in the half.

The game was contested for the entire half, with Florida State mostly leading by a possession. Up three, Dwayne Bacon spun into the lane for a layup but was called for the offensive foul, despite both of the defender's feet being inside the charge circle.

On the next possession, Pitt tied the game, and the air came out of the building.

FSU scored to retake the lead, and Pitt answered. Devon Bookert came up with a huge offensive rebound and fed Terance Mann for a layup, and the Noles had a 2-point lead.

20-seconds later, Malik Beasley picked up his 5th foul, with 2:48 left in the game.

Pittsburgh tied it, Terance Mann turned the ball over, and then the Panthers hit a three.

Then came the worst play of the game. Dwayne Bacon, who committed a career high eight turnovers (though it should be pointed out that two were blatantly incorrect charge calls), failed to get the ball inbounds and was called for a 5-second violation.

Pitt made FTs, and the game was essentially over. Xavier Rathan-Mayes hit a late three, but it was for naught, as Pitt walked away with a 74-72 win.

The Noles are now 2-5 in the ACC. CBS's Jerry Palm had the Seminoles as a 10-seed in the dance entering this game, but this one probably drops them to the wrong side of the bubble. They have a lot of work to do.

Malik Beasley made all seven of his shots and led FSU with 16 points. XRM had 14 points in his return from a 1-game suspension. Dwayne Bacon had 12 points. Devon Bookert had 10. Boris Bojanovsky had six points and a game high eight rebounds.

The good news is that FSU may be slightly favored in each of the next four games. The bad news is that they can't go any worse than 3-1 if they want a realistic shot at dancing.