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No. 13 FSU basketball ignites late and defeats Miami in ACC home opener

The Seminoles will face No. 1 Duke at home on Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Seminoles struggled to make open shots throughout the majority of the game on Wednesday evening, but they were able to put the game away in the end and win 68-62. With a little over two minutes to go, Florida State led the Hurricanes by 10 points, but Miami responded by going on an 8-0 run. However, a Trent Forrest put-back, and a pair of free throws from M.J. Walker after a blocked shot sealed the deal. The Seminoles have now won their 39th home game of their last 41.

Coaches from Miami and Florida State came into the game sporting Coaching for Literacy’s bright green ties in order to promote the Fight for Literacy. Fans can support young readers in Tallahassee by making a donation for each assist the Seminoles make over a four-game stretch from January 9th-20th. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 59 percent of fourth-graders in Florida are not proficient in reading.

Florida State took a small lead at the end of the first half after Raiquan Gray drained a jumper as time expired, giving the ’Noles a 33-29 lead. Both teams were ice cold in the first 8 minutes of play, Florida State was just 3-12 from the field, including 0-4 outside the arc.

After being called for 12 fouls in the first half to just five for the visitors, the Seminoles continued that trend in the 2nd half. Had it not been for the freebies, Miami would have been blown out, as they outscored FSU by 10 on free throws.

But FSU was able to go on a 21-5 run in the middle of the 2nd half to open the lead, turning a 40-37 deficit into a 58-45 lead. Miami was never able to even get level, and after some late game defensive heroics, Florida State was able to put it away. It was closer than it should’ve been, but poor shooting for FSU and numerous FTs for Miami kept it close.

Florida State ended the game 6-26 from 3, while Miami was actually worse at 4-18. David Nichols led Florida State with 13 points, while PJ Savoy added 10 points in his new role off the bench. A third reserve, Mfiondu Kabengele, added 9 points and 7 rebounds in 17 minutes before fouling out.

The Seminoles now prepare to take out the No. 1 ranked Blue Devils in Tallahassee this Saturday, January 12th, at 2 pm.