Florida State (13-11, 7-7 ACC) defeated Syracuse (11-13, 4-10 ACC) 73-67 tonight at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.
Florida State methodically worked to a first quarter advantage. An Erin Howard jumper put the Seminoles up 18-10 with about 3:36 left in the quarter. However, Syracuse came back strong scoring eight straight points to tie the game at 18. Valencia Myers hit a pair of free throws to give FSU a 20-18 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Both teams started the second quarter ice cold. Christianna Carr hit a triple for SU and that was the only score in the quarter until a Sara Bejedi old fashioned three point play put the Noles up 23-21 with 5:16 remaining in the half. From there the two teams traded baskets until FSU scored the last five points of the quarter to take a 32-28 lead into halftime.
Chrislyn Carr started the second half with a three for the Cuse to cut the lead to 32-31. Florida State responded with a quick 8-0 run that was sparked by a Valencia Myers layup. From there the two teams went back and forth until Morgan Jones scored the last four points of the quarter to give the Seminoles a 50-39 lead going into the last quarter.
FSU took a 53-39 lead early in fourth quarter after another Jones layup. The two teams exchanged baskets after that for most of the quarter until Jones hit another layup with 1:37 left in the game to give FSU a 68-55 lead. After that it was mostly a free throw contest and Florida State made enough of them to walk away with a 73-67 victory.
Morgan Jones led Florida State with 21 points and nine boards. Valencia Myers had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Losing this game would have all but ended Florida State’s NCAA Tournament hopes so from that standpoint this was a good win. However, realistically the committee would have only cared about this game had Florida State lost. The Noles still have a lot of work to do in order to earn a bid.
FSU has four games left on the regular season schedule and they are all must-wins at this point. If Florida State can get all four and avoid the upset in the first game of the ACC Tournament, the Noles would be 18-12 with four or five Q1 wins. The Seminoles would have a Q1/Q2 record of about 9-10. That would probably be enough for them to sneak in the Tournament especially as the women’s tournament expands to 68 teams this year. It’s a tall order but it is possible.
The must-win tour continues on Thursday as FSU welcomes Boston College (15-9, 6-7 ACC) to Tallahassee. The game will tip at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.