Florida State Seminoles basketball has been through it this year.
From losing several significant players to injury to emotional moments to a mid-season layoff, it’s a testament to the grit and tenacity of the 2022 team that it ended the season on a three-game win streak win it could have easily folded.
“We’ve had some ups, we’ve had some downs, our emotions as we dealt with what seemed like one injury after another, after another,” head coach Leonard Hamilton said after the team finished out the season with a win over NC State. “The thing that has been challenging for these guys, as close as they are, the culture that we gave them and developed, you get disappointed when you know who one of your teammates who loves to play is not as certain of when he’s going to play and if he’s going to play.”
“We have three guys now who have season-ending injuries and you feel for them, and your responsibility changes; more minutes are required and the stress of picking up the slack for guys who aren’t available has changed almost every week. But the guys have grown closer together, they have developed more of a bond, and it seemed as though they have come to a point where they feel like we can win regardless of who we have available.”
FSU, second-place finishers in the ACC Tournament just a year ago, now faces an uphill climb back to the championship game, starting today vs. Syracuse, a team that the Seminoles split the season series with. The Orange have struggled to find success towards the end of the season, losing five of its last seven.
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With exceptions of Auburn, Villanova, and both matchups with Duke, Syracuse has been competitive in every game it’s played. Still, losses have mounted and there are reasons for Syracuse’s proclivity to collapse in late-game scenarios. That doesn’t exactly bode well for post-season play.
Syracuse hasn’t stopped competing though. It would’ve been easy for this team to quit given how this season has gone, coupled with season-ending injuries to Jesse Edwards and Benny Williams.
Symir Torrence has missed time too with a sprained knee ligament after the first meeting with Duke and a hard hit to the head in the second meeting against the Blue Devils that caused him to enter concussion protocol. His status for the Florida State game is uncertain, but he traveled with the team on Monday.
Florida State vs. Syracuse tips off at noon from Brooklyn, and is set to be broadcast on ESPN.
According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are 1.5 point favorites over Syracuse.
Game notes, via FSU Sports Info
SEMINOLES’ CLEVELAND NAMED ACC MEN’S BASKETBALL SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Florida State freshman Matthew Cleveland, the only player in the ACC to average in double figure scoring while starting fewer than 10 games, has been named the ACC Men’s Basketball Sixth Man of the Year by a blue ribbon voting panel and announced by the Atlantic Coast Conference. Cleveland becomes the fourth consecutive Seminole to win the award as he follows in footsteps of NBA first round draft picks Mfiondu Kabengele (2019), Patrick Williams (2020) and Scottie Barnes (2021). The ACC Sixth Man of the Year Award was established in 2014 and has been won by a Seminole player in four of the nine years it has been awarded. Cleveland has come off the bench in 20 of 28 games, with eight starting assignments. He was moved into Florida State’s starting lineup on February 2 because of injuries to each member of the Seminoles’ starting five. Injuries and illnesses have caused eight different Seminole players to miss a total of 50 games.
SEMINOLES NOW WITH SIX ONE-POINT VICTORIES
Florida State won its sixth game of the 2021-22 season which was decided by one point with its 64-63 win over Virginia on February 26 in Charlottesville. The Seminoles have defeated five ACC teams by one point (Miami, 65-64 on January 11; Duke, 79-78 in overtime on January 18; at Miami, 61-60, January 22; Clemson, 81-80, February 15 and at Virginia, 64-63, on February 26) and defeated Boston University in a non-conference game (81-80, November 24). The Seminoles are the first team in ACC history to win each of their five ACC games that were decided by exactly one point. The ACC record for games decided by one point for any ACC team is six by Notre Dame during the 2019-20 season. The Fighting Irish were 3-3 in one-point decisions during the 2019-20 season.
SEMINOLES’ COLLEGE BASKETBALL RECORD OVERTIME WINNING STREAK
Florida State defeated Duke, 79-78, in overtime on January 18 in Tallahassee for its all-time college basketball record 13th consecutive overtime victory. The Seminoles have won each of their overtime decisions since a 101-90 double overtime win over Syracuse on January 13, 2018 in a game played at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. Florida State has defeated 11 teams during their overtime streak. The Seminoles are 2-0 in OT games this year.
Game notes, via Syracuse
SETTING THE STAGE
The Orange completed the regular season with four straight losses at the hands of the top four teams in the ACC. The difficult stretch included an overtime loss at North Carolina and a three-point defeat to Miami.
The Seminoles enter the ACC Tournament on a three-game win streaks. Florida State won at Virginia (64-63) and at home against Notre Dame (74-70) and NC State (89-76).
THE SYRACUSE-FLORIDA STATE SERIES
The Seminoles and the Orange met twice during the 2022 regular season. Syracuse emerged victorious in the Donald Tucker Center in December, winning 63-60. In the second encounter, Florida State hung on in the final minute to beat the Orange 76-71.
Syracuse leads the all-time series 8-6.
ORANGE OFFENSE RUNS THROUGH BUDDY
Buddy Boeheim matched his season high in points (30) in Saturday’s loss to Miami. It was his second 30-point performance of the season and his 12th straight double-figure scoring outing. He currently leads the ACC in scoring with 19.3 ppg. Buddy Boeheim became the fifth Syracuse player to earn First Team All-ACC honors.
Joe Girard hit four 3-pointers against the Hurricanes, bringing his career total to 201 and taking over eighth on the Syracuse all-time 3-pointer list.