Just as in the past few years, the Seminoles have followed one of their worst efforts with one of their best.
Coming off a disappointing 20-point loss to Clemson in the ACC opener that left coach Leonard Hamilton perplexed, the 'Noles got back to what they do best. They grinded out a 63-59 victory at Virginia Tech on Tuesday that gives them some confidence before Saturday's home game against North Carolina.
The Seminoles (10-6, 1-1 ACC) are going to need a signature win, and the third-ranked Tar Heels (15-2, 2-0) provide a home-court opportunity.
Saturday's game in Tallahassee will feature the largest home crowd of the season. Students bought their allotment quickly.
The Tar Heels swept the season series last year, winning 89-69 in Chapel Hill and then 72-70 in Tallahassee. North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, then a freshman, sank a 3-pointer with three seconds to play in the game at Florida State, turning a one-point deficit into a two-point win.
The 'Noles have played a few down-to-the-buzzer-type games in recent years and will need to get into that kind of game again. With such a large crowd, Florida State will have a chance to show it is a reformed team down the stretch.
TRENDING: The Seminoles built leads in each of the halves Tuesday but twice had their advantage trimmed by scoring droughts and possession woes. The Seminoles led 30-21 at halftime, but Virginia Tech rallied before Florida State pulled ahead by eight. The Hokies nearly tied the game before Okaro White grabbed a rebound and hit two free throws in the final seconds. The Seminoles won despite 19 turnovers, continuing a season-long problem.
NOTES AND QUOTES
The Seminoles were unable to contain Virginia Tech G Erick Green in the second half. He scored 19 of his game-high 21 points after halftime but misfired on the game's deciding possession. With Florida State clinging to a 61-59 lead, Green was thwarted by defensive pressure from Deividas Dulkys, and he missed a running shot that White rebounded. Still, Green scored six points above his average. ...
After giving up 79 points in the loss to Clemson, Florida State's defensive pressure returned. The Seminoles held Virginia Tech to just 30.5 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
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