When these two teams met in February, Syracuse jumped out to a big early lead thanks to unconscious shooting in the Carrier Dome, and FSU was able to rally late in the half. In the first 20-minutes today, both teams struggled early before the Orange resumed their hot shooting, but Florida State forced enough turnovers that they were able to keep the game in check. Xavier Rathan-Mayes hit a long three at the buzzer, and the Noles went into halftime down 35-31.
Even though the game took a different path to get there, it was reminiscent of the first time around when FSU went into the break down three.
In the Carrier Dome, the Orange came out of halftime and promptly scored on eight straight possessions.
But the roles were reversed today. FSU came out on an 11-3 run - fueled by a trio of Malik Beasley 3s - to take their first lead since the game's opening minutes.
That's when ref Jamie Luckie inserted himself into the game. After a terrible travelling call against Montay Brandon, Coach Hamilton let the refs know what he thought of their work. And in classic ref fashion, Luckie backed up a terrible call by hanging a technical foul on the complaining coach.
Syracuse tied it up and that's where it stood at the first media timeout.
Over the next 12 minutes, however, the Noles would clearly outplay Syracuse. FSU repeatedly got inside the Syracuse zone, and were able to score at all three levels. The lead was quickly pushed to eight and it hovered around there until the game's final minutes.
Florida State committed three straight turnovers late to give Syracuse a shot at stealing a win. Then Devon Bookert made the play of the game when his missed shot ended up with Syracuse and the Noles clinging to a 3-point lead. He chased the Orange ball handler for 80' before he was able to tip his dribble away, and the ball careened right to Bojo.
In the end FSU got the stops it needed and walked away with a 78-73 win.
Malik Beasley led FSU with 20 points. Dwayne Bacon had 16 to go along with eight rebounds, and XRM had a nice game with 16 points, three assists, and three steals. Boris Bojanovsky had eight rebounds, and Devon Bookert chipped in with four assists. Terance Mann had eight points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
The Noles finish the regular season at 18-12 (8-10), and will open the ACC tournament on Tuesday vs Boston College.