Florida State (13-2, 2-0 ACC) defeated no. 13 North Carolina (9-3, 0-1 ACC) by a 78-71 score tonight in Chapel Hill, NC.
Florida State started strong jumping out to a 10-4 lead after a Makayla Timpson layup. O’Mariah Gordon sank a triple to give the Noles a 15-7 lead midway through the first quarter. However, North Carolina battled back and tied the score at 22 after the first quarter on the strength of a pair of free throws from Deja Kelly.
The Seminoles went into the cooler to start the second quarter. The Heels started the quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 32-23 lead. Gordon broke the run with a much needed three ball. That shot sparked the Noles to a 10-2 run to pull within one at 34-33. However, UNC ended the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 41-35 halftime lead.
Ta’Niya Latson came alive in the third quarter. The freshman only scored one point in the first half but she scored FSU’s first 10 points in the second half. FSU pulled to within a bucket at 47-45 thanks to Latson’s scoring outburst. Midway through the quarter FSU hit the Heels with a 9-0 run to take a 51-47 lead. From there the teams traded baskets and the Seminoles had a 55-51 lead going into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter the game stayed tight as the two teams traded buckets. However, Makayla Timpson took over in crunch time. The sophomore scored seven straight points for Florida State in a 7-2 FSU run to give the Noles a 72-66 lead. From there the Seminoles won the game at the free throw line. FSU’s last six points came from the charity stripe as the Seminoles were able to salt the game away and leave Chapel Hill with a massive 78-71 victory.
Ta’Niya Latson lead Florida State with 21 points, 8 boards and 6 assists. Makayla Timpson had 20 points, 11 boards and five blocks.
Florida State had a whopping 37 second chance points to five for Carolina. This was due in large part because FSU won the rebounding battle 51-41.
FSU also only allowed three points off turnovers.
Florida State has now won seven of the last eight games against North Carolina.
Florida State took advantage of an off shooting night from North Carolina. The Heels only shot 4-23 (17.4%) from deep. They came into the game shooting .339 from three.
The entire team was impressive tonight. This is a resilient bunch. UNC went up nine in the second quarter. That is the time where the ranked home team is supposed to take a double digit lead and go into cruise control. It didn’t happen. Florida State battled back and the score was reasonable at halftime. That set the stage for the second half surge powered by Latson and Timpson.
Speaking of the dynamic duo, Timpson and Latson were outstanding tonight. The box score tells you that but it was more than just statistics. Latson had only one point at halftime but she never forced any shots. She didn’t get flustered and start hunting stats. She stayed within the offense and let the game come to her which it did in the second half. UNC’s run in the second quarter came (coincidentally I’m sure) when Timpson was on the bench with two fouls. When Timpson came back into the game she made her presence felt quickly. FSU has quite a one-two punch with those two.
FSU was outrebounded at home by Miami (40-31) in the last game. The Noles also lost the second chance points battle to the Canes 21-8. FSU flipped the script tonight. If the Seminoles can hold their own on the boards there is enough firepower elsewhere to make this team a handful for almost anyone.
It is a bit early to look to the postseason but this game will look very good on the resume. UNC was 23 in the NET and 17 in the RPI before the game. This will almost certainly be a Q1 win at the end of the season. This was FSU’s second Q1 win. Purdue is the other.
Florida State is brimming with confidence and playing quite well right now. This was a very impressive win. We will now see if FSU has the maturity to avoid a letdown when they travel to Atlanta on New Year’s Day.
Florida State will meet Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Sunday, New Year’s Day. The game will tip at 2pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra. The Yellow Jackets fell to Virginia tonight 69-63 in Charlottesville.