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Miami edges Florida State in Tallahassee thriller

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The Florida State vs. Miami matchup in men’s basketball on Sunday was a treat to watch. Both teams gave all they had in a big rivalry game. In the end, the 12th ranked Hurricanes escaped with a 67-65 thriller in Tallahassee as the Seminoles frantically tried to tie the game.

Miami dominated the first half, bottling up FSU’s freshman duo of Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon. The pair had two free throws combined as Miami took a 37-26 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, Florida State was able to exert their will with a strong effort and the ability to knock down some shots. Devon Bookert’s three-pointer brought the Seminoles into a 50-50 tie with 8:57 left.

While Miami never fell behind in the second half, they withstood the last frantic minute. After Bacon’s three-pointer brought FSU to within 66-65 with 49 seconds remaining.

After regaining possession with 28 seconds and two timeouts remaining, Coach Leonard Hamilton chose to let his team play on. After the ball was poked loose, Bookert recovered by the Seminoles’ bench with four seconds remaining.

No one called timeout (Hamilton could not by rule) and Bookert fired an air ball. Ja’Quan Newton, who was fouled, missed the second of two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining. Again, no timeout was called and Beasley’s desperation heave missed badly and Miami had a hard-earned victory.

“We’re still in a learning mode, there’s no question about that,” said Hamilton. “You can’t develop the type of habits to play against experienced, veteran teams in a short period of time. You have to learn and grow and the things we are asking them to do from game to game are not habits yet.”

Sheldon McClellan was banged up during the game, but led the Hurricanes with 20 points. Reed added 14.

Bookert led Florida State with 14 points and Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 12. Bacon and Beasley were held to 15 points, their lowest combined output of the season.

Miami improves to 20-4 overall and 9-3 in the ACC. Florida State falls to 16-9 and 6-7 in the ACC.

The Seminoles travel to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech on Wednesday while the Hurricanes host Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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