For the second consecutive game, the Florida State Seminoles were facing a heavy underdog and for the second consecutive game, they struggled in the first half. After the 2-9 Florida Atlantic Owls gave FSU all they could handle on Saturday night, this time it was the 4-7 Charleston Southern Buccaneers.
Like Saturday, Florida State came out in the second half and took control, finally dispatching Charleston Southern, 75-64 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. With the victory, FSU has now won five straight and are 9-2 on the season.
Florida State was unable to open any distance between themselves and the Buccaneers, thanks in large part to Charleston Southern’s ability to knock down several three-pointers. Twice in the first half, FSU took 5-point leads, only to have Charleston Southern respond with a three.
After Raemond Robinson tied the game for Charleston Southern, Xavier Rathan-Mayes answered with a three-pointer for FSU to send the Seminoles into the locker room with a 34-31 lead. Also helping to keep the game close were the 13 turnovers committed by Florida State in the first half alone. They finished with 18.
“This was one of those games where we had a rash or turnovers and it seemed like it kept going for the entire game,” said Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton. “We’ve been handling the ball well and been having good assist-to-turnover ratios, but today wasn’t one of those days.
Charleston Southern came out of the locker room firing. Two quick triples by Armel Potter and Patrick Wallace gave their team the lead, but FSU responded with an 8-0 run to take a 44-37 advantage.
Florida State took their first double-digit lead when Dwayne Bacon scored from close range to make it 52-42 with 12:02 remaining. The Buccaneers briefly cut the lead to 66-60 with 3:44 left, but FSU closed the game on a 9-4 run to provide the 11-point margin.
Bacon led the Seminoles in scoring with 20 points and collected 10 rebounds. His freshman counterpart, Malik Beasley, added 16 while Jarquez Smith had 12 off the bench.
Potter was the leading scorer for Charleston Southern with 20 points while Robinson had 11. The Buccaneers shot 38 percent for the game, including 30 percent from three-point range. They took 37 shots from behind the arc and made 11.
Charleston Southern outscored the Seminoles from the field, 59-57, but the difference came at the foul line. Florida State made 18 of 24 free throws, while the Buccaneers only went to the line eight times, making five.
Florida State has a tough task ahead of them. On Dec. 29, they travel to the O’Connell Center in Gainesville to face the Florida Gators.
ACC conference play begins on Jan. 2.