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2nd half rally falls short at Syracuse

‘Noles have lost two straight road games

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

In the early going it looked like a repeat of the Georgia Tech game. The offense couldn’t get anything going, and the defense couldn’t get enough stops. But then the ‘Noles began to find some rhythm and they were able to stay within shouting distance at 24-20.

Then Jonathan Isaac took a weird spill, and proceeded to loaf for a couple of possessions. When he came out of the game they immediately took him to the locker room. It would turn out that he was having a hard time breathing - he has asthma, and that is complicated by chest congestion he’s been battling.

Regardless, when he left the game, Syracuse rolled, finishing the half on a 20-6 run.

The Orange took a 44-26 lead into the break.

But in the 2nd half, everything turned around.

Isaac was back and it took less than four minutes to cut an 18-point deficit into single digits. That deficit was cut to a single possession in less than eight minutes.

But from there, FSU could never get over the hump. FSU kept stealing minutes for Isaac on the bench, but to pull off the comeback they probably needed Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes on the floor the whole time. Those three and Jarquez Smith were the only players who were really effective against the zone.

In the final 12+ minutes, Florida State cut the lead to a single possession five times. They never tied or took the lead.

In the end, a couple of empty possessions meant that FSU had to start fouling, and Syracuse knocked down their FTs and walked away with a 82-72 win. They’re undefeated at home in ACC play.

Jonathan Isaac led FSU with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Dwayne Bacon also scored 19. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 16 points and five assists. Jarquez Smith, who played most of the 2nd half, had six points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

Florida State (18-4, 6-3) now falls a half game behind Virginia and is a 3rd place tie with Notre Dame who lost on the road to Georgia Tech.

Now FSU has to play it’s 3rd straight road game. They’ll be at Miami on Wednesday.