It had to end sometime. The Seminoles went to Chapel Hill without a loss since Thanksgiving Day, but the Tar Heels were too much.
North Carolina set the tone early, punching early and taking a 9-2 lead before Jonathan Isaac banked in a three to settle Florida State down.
FSU was able to stay within shouting distance, and then finally made their move when they were down 22-13. The Seminoles used a 16-4 run to take their first lead of the game.
They had a chance to get into the break with a close margin, but the Tar Heels went on a 7-0 run to close the half, and led 50-41.
The powerful UNC offense relies on offensive boards, but in that first half FSU was able to limit them to boards on just 34% of their own misses (compared to over 42% for the season). But turnover and free throw woes made it too difficult to keep it close.
The same thing happened in the 2nd half. Florida State was able to close, but too many missed free throws meant the ‘Noles were never able to get over the hump. Joel Berry, Isaiah Hicks, and Justin Jackson all had big games.
A late run by UNC and won going away, 96-83. The Seminoles (16-2, 4-1), and now tied for 2nd in the ACC with North Carolina, one game behind 5-0 Notre Dame.
The good news is that this may have been FSU’s toughest remaining test of the regular season. North Carolina is No. 7 according to kenpom.com, and at the tip they were 8.5 point favorites. With better free throw shooting, and better luck in the 3-point lottery, this would have been close.
The ‘Noles are for real.
Dwayne Bacon led Florida State with 18 points, and had at least two 3s come out after being halfway down. Jonathan Isaac played a great game, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, and doing all the little things that don’t end up in the box score. PJ Savoy and Terance Mann each scored 10.
FSU’s six-game grind through ranked teams continues on Wednesday, when they host Notre Dame.