Florida State (14-12, 8-8 ACC) was defeated by #24 North Carolina (21-5, 11-5 ACC) today 64-49 in Tallahassee.
North Carolina got off to a strong start scoring nine of the first 12 points of the game. However, Florida State finished the quarter on a 9-2 run that was capped by a Valencia Myers layup. FSU took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.
The Seminoles came out ice cold in the second quarter. FSU missed its first eight shots in the quarter. River Baldwin finally made a nice move to get a layup to break the drought but FSU was still down 20-16 at that point. However, Baldwin’s layup sparked the Noles to a 6-0 mini-run to tie the score at 20. Carlie Littlefield nailed a triple to break the run. Myers and Littlefield traded jumpers to end the half and the Heels took a 25-22 lead into halftime.
The game stayed tight in the third quarter. Morgan Jones eventually hit a layup with 2:10 left in the quarter to give Florida State a 35-33 lead. Alyssa Ustby immediately answered with a three for UNC. That shot sparked the Heels to a 7-0 run to end the quarter and UNC took a 40-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
O’Mariah Gordon fouled Deja Kelly on a three point attempt. Kelly (the best free throw shooter in the ACC) made all three free throws. FSU had a strong response going on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 45-44. Unfortunately, that proved to be the last gasp for the Seminoles. UNC answered with a back breaking 11-0 run to take a 56-44 lead with four minutes and change left. Sammie Puisis hit a three but Eva Hodgson immediately answered with a triple for the Tar Heels. From there UNC cruised to the 64-49 victory.
Morgan Jones led FSU with 11 points and five boards. Valencia Myers had eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
This game snaps FSU’s six game winning streak over North Carolina.
This game was closer than the score indicated. However, UNC did outplay FSU and they deserved the victory. The Heels had an answer every time FSU tried to make a move in the game.
UNC is a smaller team than FSU but the Heels outrebounded the Seminoles 40-32.
The biggest reason for the loss though was that FSU went on too many scoring droughts where the Seminoles simply couldn’t put the ball in the basket. Florida State was generally able to get good shots but they just couldn’t hit enough of them. FSU also wasn’t able to get second shots. The Noles only had two second chance points in the game.
FSU is a far deeper team than UNC but the Noles couldn’t speed up the game to leverage the depth advantage. Florida State also only had four free throws in the entire game.
Overall, this is a game that FSU really needed for its resume. Florida State now probably needs to win its last two regular season games and get to at least the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament to feel good about an NCAA Tournament bid.
Florida State will host #16 Georgia Tech (19-7, 10-5 ACC) on Thursday at 6pm. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.