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FSU basketball holds off hot-shooting UNF for fifth straight win

Matthew Cleveland’s career-high 21 points lead FSU to victory.

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Tallahassee, FL- Florida State basketball held off the North Florida Ospreys on Thursday afternoon for an 86-73 win. The 13-point win gives FSU five straight victories. Matthew Cleveland’s career-high 21 points off the bench helped propel the Seminoles to victory. Cleveland also notched his first career double-double with 10 rebounds. Caleb Mills contributed 21 points as he went an efficient 8-12 from the field. Tanor Ngom posted a career-high with 13 points.



Moments that mattered

Both teams missing key pieces

UNF and FSU were both without key starters today. Malik Osborne, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was not dressed out. Osborne is FSU’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer.

The Ospreys were without leading scorer Jose Placer, who averages 12.9 PPG. UNF was also without guard Carter Hendricksen. Hendricksen entered the game as North Florida’s second-leading scorer with 11 PPG and the team’s leader in three-pointers. UNF was also without starter Jonathan Aybar for the majority of the game, after he was ejected for a flagrant two foul within the first four minutes of the game.

UNF’s three-point shooting, FSU’s turnovers keep it close early

Florida State led 18-15 at the under-12 media timeout. The Ospreys started 3-3 from beyond the arc as Josh Berenbaum made a pair of triples. The Seminoles also got off to a strong start with their shooting stroke, 54.5% from the floor through eight minutes, but couldn’t widen the margin due to turnovers. After turning it over just six times against Duke, FSU had four early turnovers that led to four UNF points. Heading into the media timeout, the ‘Noles had turned it over on three straight possessions.

FSU struggled to contain the Ospreys’ scorching hot start from deep. UNF entered the game just 32.3% from three-point range and averaging 9.2 threes per game. At the U8 TO, they were 6-10 from three. Emmanuel Adedoyin propelled the UNF effort as he made his first three triples. On the flip side, FSU was just 1-4 from three. The ‘Noles were clinging to a 28-26 lead with 6:57 remaining in the half. In the first 14 minutes, FSU had nine turnovers.

Late run gives ‘Noles double-digit halftime lead

RayQuan Evans ignited a Seminoles’ run late in the first half. The hero from FSU’s wins over Duke and Miami hit his first triple just before the final TO of the half to start a 12-0 run. Wyatt Wilkes got wide open off a pump fake for another triple to extend the lead to nine. Moments later, a floater by Evans gave the Seminoles their first double-digit lead.

FSU entered the half with a 48-38 lead. The ‘Noles led by as much as 13, but UNF ended the half with three free throws by Jarius Hicklen after he was fouled on a buzzer beater attempt. The Seminoles shot 59.3% from the field in the half and were 3-7 from three-point range. UNF posted a 42.9% FG% and were 7-13 from three. FSU had 10 turnovers, while the Ospreys had 11 in a sloppy half.

Caleb Mills led all scorers with 15 points as he made five of six shots. Cleveland added nine points and a team-high five rebounds.

Ospreys continue to light up nets from beyond the arc after half

UNF trimmed into the FSU lead out of the locker room as their red-hot three-point shooting continued. Heading into the first media timeout of the half, UNF made three straight triples. Hicklen made back-to-back triples to trim the lead to seven. FSU led 56-49 at the U16 TO. With 15:37 remaining, UNF was 10-16 from three, surpassing their season average of 9.2 triples per game.

Cleveland keeps FSU ahead

The Ospreys cut the lead down to three after a pair of free throws capped a 7-0 run. The freshman Cleveland helped the Seminoles stay ahead with a pair of crucial dunks. After making a free throw, Cleveland missed a second but was able to grab the rebound and slam it home for second-chance points. A minute later, fellow freshman Jalen Warley threw a perfect lob to Cleveland for another slam. FSU led 61-55 at the U12 TO.

FSU extends lead back to double digits with quick run

The Seminoles found their intensity on both ends of the court out of the timeout. On the defensive end, FSU held the Ospreys scoreless for two-plus minutes. Back-to-back baskets by Tanor Ngom extended Florida State’s lead to nine. A midrange jumper by John Butler extend the Seminoles lead back to double digits as Matthew Driscoll called his third timeout with 9:39 remaining.

Out of the UNF timeout, the Seminoles forced a quick turnover. Cleveland then grabbed another offensive board, leading to his third dunk of the half. On FSU’s next possession, the freshman lobbed it to Ngom, who tapped it in and hit a free throw to convert an and-one. The big man’s and-one gave FSU an 11-0 run, which put the ‘Noles up 16 at the U8 timeout.

UNF makes game interesting down home stretch

The Seminoles built a lead as large as 18 points with 7:15 remaining, but the Ospreys wouldn’t go away. Hicklen and Berenbaum hit back-to-back triples in less than a minute to cut the lead down two 12. Another Hicklen triple, his sixth, trimmed the lead to 10. Following a midrange jumper from Anthony Polite, an and-one by Jordan Preaster trimmed the lead to nine. Leonard Hamilton called a timeout with 4:15 remaining and the ‘Noles up 77-68.

After another offensive board from Cleveland, Polite extended the lead back to double digits with a hook shot. But as they had all afternoon, UNF responded. Adedoyin hit UNF’s 14th triple to trim the lead to eight with 3:27 remaining.

FSU holds off UNF over last two minutes

Florida State went into the final two minutes with a 10-point lead. The ‘Noles were able to hold off the Ospreys with strong defense. The Ospreys committed back-to-back turnovers, before Cleveland went 1-2 at the line to extend the lead to 11 with 1:14 remaining. After the free throw, the ‘Noles forced a turnover for the third straight possession. Polite grabbed an offensive board, which allowed FSU to drain the clock. Cleveland converted a floater to extend the lead to 13 and ice the game.

Up next: Florida State will travel to Miami on Saturday to face the Hurricanes for the second time this season. FSU will be going for the season sweep after defeating UM 65-64 on January 11th. RayQuan Evans hit two free throws with .8 seconds remaining to win the game. FSU has won eight straight against the Canes. The game is scheduled for 2:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN.