Florida State used a 4-game ACC win streak to drag themselves from the wrong side of the bubble to solidly on the right side, and tonight they had a chance to gain some distance ahead of the rest of the bubble. But it wasn't to be. And it came at the hands of another team with a bubble-ish resume.
It's never fun to play basketball in a dome - unless you're the home team and always play in one - and early on it looked like Florida State might get run out of the building. Syracuse seemingly couldn't miss a shot, while Florida State was getting good looks against the zone but not converting. They very quickly found themselves down 31-17.
But down the stretch in the first half the Noles fought back, finishing on a 22-11 run to enter the break down just three.
Any hopes of pulling the upset, however, were quickly dashed in the 2nd half.
Syracuse scored on their first eight possessions and a 3-point lead was now 17.
And that's pretty much where the game stayed the rest of the way.
The Noles never made a significant run to challenge, and Syracuse ended up slowing down and running clock.
The final was 85-72.
Devon Bookert had another solid game, leading FSU with 15 points, and adding five assists and three steals. Malik Beasley scored 14, but needed 18 shots to do it. Dwayne Bacon scored 11, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 10 and had five assists.
Syracuse missed several good looks late, but still finished 70% on 2s and 47% on 3s. Part of that was great shooting (including the obligatory banked-in three), and part was terrible defense. Whatever it was, Florida State needs to shake it off and move on with the rest of their schedule. Now 6-6 in ACC play, the Noles need to go 3-3 the rest of the way to have a decent shot at dancing, and 4-2 to make sure.
Next up is Miami, at the Tuck on Sunday.