Florida State’s 66-57 victory over No. 25 Miami on Saturday gives the 15th-ranked Seminoles a double-bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and their first unbeaten home season in 41 years.
But coach Leonard Hamilton wasn’t about to get philosophical.
“We have to keep things in perspective,” Hamilton said. “We’re not done yet. We have a ways to go. We want to get as much out of this season that we can. Let’s go do some other things that will give us fonder memories.”
Florida State (24-7, 12-6) will be the second seed for the tournament, which begins Tuesday at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. It is their highest seeding since they were second in 1993. Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame are tied for second but the Seminoles have the higher seed based on a better combined record over the Irish and Cardinals.
Since the conference expanded beyond nine teams in 2004-05, FSU’s highest tournament seeding was third in 2012, which it won in Atlanta. That is also the last year the Seminoles made the NCAA Tournament.
“I know how hard it was last year playing on the first day, so now we get to rest a lot and get to see who we will face (on Thursday),” said Dwayne Bacon, who led Florida State with 23 points.
The win also wrapped up the Seminoles’ first unbeaten home season since 1975-76. They are 18-0 at the Tucker Center this season, with six wins against ranked teams. They have won 21 straight at home dating to last season.
The first half saw five ties and nine lead changes as Florida State led 37-34 at halftime.
Miami’s Davon Reed, who had 22 points, started the second half with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 37 before FSU went on a 12-3 run to take control. Jarquez Smith, who was one of two seniors playing his final home game, had five of his 11 points during the run.
A dunk by Bacon with 4:19 remaining gave the Seminoles a 59-48 lead but the Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8) went on a 9-2 run to close within 61-57 with 19 seconds remaining. FSU closed it out by scoring the final six points.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said that it wasn’t a good sign for his team that they shot 11 of 21 from the field, including 5 of 8 on 3-pointers, in the first half and was trailing. The Hurricanes shot 31.8 from the field (7 of 22) in the second half and were 6 of 11 at the line.
“In the second half we came up empty,” Larranaga said. “Another key was our inability to score in transition while they could. When another team has a 17-7 edge in points off turnovers that is a big difference.”
Miami: The Hurricanes are still looking for their first March win over a ranked team in Larranaga’s six years as coach. The loss to FSU dropped them to 0-7.
Florida State: The Seminoles have won both regular-season games against Miami for the fifth time in ACC play and first time since 2011.
The Seminoles are 7-3 against ranked teams and should remain among the top 15 despite the loss earlier in the week against Duke. The Hurricanes, who are 3-6 against ranked teams, made their first foray into the poll last week and are likely to drop out with two straight losses.
This was the first time in 79 meetings between the teams that both were ranked when facing each other. … Michael Ojo, who was also playing his final home game, had no points and four rebounds in 13 minutes. … Miami’s Bruce Brown, who had 15 points in the first meeting on Feb. 1, was the Hurricanes’ only other player in double figures with 10. … Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, who had 15 points in the first game, was held to two points and was 0 of 3 from the field.
HE SAID IT
“We feel like we have two more seasons left — ACC Tournament season and NCAA Tournament season. We have to keep playing the way we have been playing,” — Bacon.
Miami: The Hurricanes are the ninth seed in the ACC Tournament and will face eighth-seeded Syracuse on Wednesday.
Florida State: The Seminoles’ first game in the ACC Tournament will be on Thursday against Virginia Tech, Wake Forest or Boston College.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.