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FSU basketball drops ACC opener vs. Syracuse as offense goes ice-cold

FSU’s 25-game ACC home game winning streak is snapped.

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

Tallahassee, FL- Florida State basketball dropped their ACC opener by a score of 63-60 to the Syracuse Orange on Saturday evening. The loss snapped FSU’s ACC home game winning streak of 25. FSU led by eight at the half, but the offense went ice cold in the second half. The Seminoles shot just 28.1% from the field in the second half. They finished the game 4-30 from beyond the arc. The ‘Noles are now 5-3.

Caleb Mills opened the scoring with a midrange jumper on Florida State’s second possession. Jalen Warley responded to a Jimmy Boeheim triple with an and-one as he penetrated the zone and converted a tough finish at the rim.

Mills’ second early basket, a three-pointer, put FSU up 8-3 at the first media timeout. Syracuse started the game just 1-7 from the field. The ‘Noles also forced three early turnovers, leading to five FSU points.

A foul on Malik Osborne forced Harrison Prieto into early action. He responded with a mid-range jumper to extend Florida State’s lead to seven at the under-12 media timeout, although it felt like it should’ve been much more. Cuse was 2-15 over the first eight minutes, but FSU couldn’t take advantage as the Noles were just 4-13 with three turnovers. Going into the timeout, both teams were on scoring droughts of more than two minutes.

The Orange stopped a run of seven straight misses with a three pointer by Cole Swider. The Seminoles turned the ball over on consecutive possessions as they struggled to figure out the zone. After three straight offensive boards, Joseph Girard knocked down a triple to cut the FSU lead to two. Both Syracuse triples were second-chance points. The Seminoles turned the ball over four times in three minutes as they went on a scoring drought of over four minutes. FSU led 14-12 at the U8 TO.

Syracuse missed 22 of its first 26 shots, but the Seminoles’ offense couldn’t do anything to pull away from an ice-cold team. Naheem McLeod, coming off the bench for the first time 12 minutes into the game, gave FSU a spark with a massive block. The block led to a transition bucket for Anthony Polite. RayQuan Evans and Mills both attacked the paint for buckets on FSU’s next two possessions. Polite then attacked the rim in transition again and got rewarded with an and-one. Jim Boeheim was forced to call his first TO as the lead quickly grew to 11 after FSU made four straight baskets in less than two minutes.

McLeod proved to be the spark again for FSU with another highlight play. The big man skied high for an alley-oop off a Jalen Warley pass to bring the Tucker Center crowd to its feet. Girard hit his second triple to trim FSU’s lead back to eight at the final media timeout of the half.

Mills powered the offense at the end of the half. The Houston Cougars transfer created space with a quick spin move and hit a mid-range jumper. On the following possession, he hit a fadeaway for two more points from mid-range. Mills led the way in the half with 11 points on 5/8 shooting.

The Seminoles went into the half with a 32-24 lead. Syracuse shot just 23% from the field and were 4-17 from beyond the arc. FSU shot 42% from the field, but were just 1-13 on three-pointers. The ‘Noles got 14 points off eight turnovers.

Malik Osborne got the ‘Noles off to a quick start out of the locker room as he hit a corner three on FSU’s first possession. Girard responded with his third triple as FSU left him wide open. The Seminoles’ offense stalled after Osborne’s triple, with another drought of over two minutes. FSU went into the first TO of the half with a six-point lead, but were scoring just .556 points per possession over their first nine possessions.

Two free throws by Girard and an and-one for Jesse Edwards, off an inbounds pass, quickly cut the lead to one with 14:19 remaining. After FSU missed their sixth straight three, the Orange took the lead on back-to-back baskets from the Boeheim brothers. Polite hit one of two free throws to end FSU’s scoring drought of over four minutes. The Orange extended their lead to five as Swider hit a triple.

McLeod helped spark FSU again with a put-back jam on a missed layup in transition. The slam was FSU’s first made field goal in six minutes. The big man then forced a Syracuse timeout as he trapped Swider in the corner. The Orange led 43-40 with 10:46 remaining. FSU was shooting 18.8% from the field nine minutes into the half.

Leonard Hamilton had to call his third timeout with 8:08 remaining as the Orange started to find their offensive footing. Back-to-Back baskets for Jimmy Boeheim extends Syracuse’s lead to seven. After the timeout, Swider hit his third three to open a double-digit lead. FSU responded with an airball from beyond the arc on the following possession. A Syracuse dunk led to Hamilton’s final timeout with 5:11 remaining and FSU down 11. The Seminoles hadn’t made a field goal in over three minutes.

Mills finally broke the ice for FSU with a wide open triple. It broke a streak of 12 straight misses from the beyond the arc and cut the deficit to six. Swider responded with a crucial basket, as he returned the favor with a three of his own on the following possession. The Seminoles trailed by eight with 3:58 remaining after Evans went one for two at the line.

Out of the timeout, Matthew Cleveland converted an and-one off a pretty pass from Evans. The foul was Edwards’ fifth, as the Syracuse big man fouled out. Polite had a chance to cut the lead to three, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. But the Seminoles cut it to three on the next possession on a Cleveland dunk. Girard followed with a three on the following possession to extend the lead to six. Mills banked in a floater to cut the lead back to four. After an empty Syracuse possession, Osborne cut the lead to one with a corner triple. The Orange called a timeout with 31.8 seconds remaining and ahead 61-60.

Out of the timeout, Osborne stripped the ball away from Swider. Polite sprinted down the court with the ball looking for the go-ahead bucket, but the veteran lost control of the ball and couldn’t save it as the ‘Noles turned it right back over. Swider went to the line for a one-and-one with 10 seconds remaining. He made both to extend the lead to three. Mills ran down the court and missed a three to tie. Osborne reeled in the offensive board, but his last second heave wouldn’t fall as the Orange escaped Tallahassee with the upset victory.



Up next: FSU will travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina for the No Room for Racism Classic. The Seminoles will play the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, December 12th at the Rock Hill Sports and Event Center. The game will tip at noon and be televised on ESPN2.