With 28 seconds remaining Miami had the ball and was holding for the final shot. The Florida State defense came through on the final possession stymieing the Canes and forcing a low percentage shot by Sheldon McClennen at the buzzer. The shot hit off the back of the rim and Florida State escaped with a 55-54 win over the No. 23 Miami Hurricanes.
Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said that Miami got what it wanted on the final possession, but the Hurricanes couldn’t execute.
“We wanted to get them to guard the basket while we hit a perimeter shot,” Larrañaga said. “I felt we did do that, but maybe with some anxiousness at the end where we got in a hurry right as the clock was winding down. You have to give [Florida State] credit. Their defense throughout the second half made us miss shots.”
After watching the first half no one would have suspected the Seminoles were capable of coming back to win this game. Miami held a 16 point lead at one point and Florida State went over 9 minutes without scoring. The Seminoles turned the ball over 11 times, or on 40-percent of their possessions, and Miami turned those into 10 points. The Hurricanes led 36-25 at the half.
Montay Brandon came out extremely hot in the first half and pulled the Seminoles to within striking distance. He finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block on the day. Two of the Top-3 scorers for Florida State, Devin Bookert and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, combined to go just 2-11 on the game for 5 points.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said he talked to the team about getting a fast start out of the half.
“We felt that we had to make something happen,” Hamilton said. “They were not going to give us the game. We had to create some offense from our defense, and I think Montay’s experience told him that someone had to make some plays. He made several defensive plays that gave us an emotional lift, some easy baskets, and some momentum and I thought that sparked us from that standpoint.”
The Noles needed someone else to step up and the big men for Florida State answered the call. Boris Bojanovsky, Keil Turpin, and Jarquez Smith combined for 27 points, 16 in the second half, and 9 rebounds. Those three defended the paint extremely well in the second half and turned the game around for the Noles.
Center Keil Turpin said that with the guards getting blanketed the big men had to step up.
“The bigs goal, and my goal, was to ensure that their post guys get limited touches and keep them off the boards,” Turpin said. “Jekiri dominates the boards for offensive and defensive rebounds and our main goal was to make it very difficult for him to get any touches at all and frustrate him.”
Florida State held Miami to just 18 points in the second half and really turned up the heat on the defensive end. Miami shot just 31.6 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three in the second half while turning the ball over 8 times. None of Miami’s bench players scored in the second half.
Florida State finished the game shooting 53.7-percent from the field and turned the ball over just 5 times in the second half. The Seminoles finished with just 25 rebounds for the game, but still out rebounded Miami by 3. The Noles held Miami’s leading scorers, Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClennon, to just 21 points combined.
Florida State improved to 12-10 and 4-5 in the ACC and will host Clemson on Wednesday, February 4th. Miami will fall to 14-7 and 4-4 in the ACC and will return home to host No. 10 Louisville on Tuesday.