Hurricanes fend off Seminoles
Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) - Shane Larkin scored 22 points, 16 of which came in the second half, and third-ranked Miami-Florida held off Florida State down the stretch to record a 74-68 victory and remain unbeaten in ACC play.
Reggie Johnson added 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting along with a game-high eight rebounds to help Miami (20-3, 11-0 ACC) notch its 12th consecutive win. Durand Scott and Julian Gamble finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively, in the triumph.
Okaro White led Florida State (13-11, 5-6) with 15 points and seven rebounds, with Devon Bookert netting 12 points in defeat.
Miami overcame a slow start to build a 38-30 halftime lead on the strength of an eight-plus minute stretch in which the Hurricanes outscored a cold-shooting Seminoles squad by a 21-4 margin, then increased the differential later on when a Larkin 3-pointer followed by Scott's layup and free throw made the score 51-39 with 13 minutes left.
Florida State would not go away, however, with Terry Whisnant pouring in eight points during a 12-0 burst capped by a White tip-in that knotted the game at 51-51 nearing the 10-minute mark.
The Hurricanes, who shot nearly 64 percent from the floor on the night, then put forth another big burst to move in front to stay.
Back-to-back dunks from Gamble ignited a 17-5 tear that featured nine points out of Larkin, including a critical triple that gave Miami a 68-56 lead with 4:32 to go.
"We didn't have an answer for Larkin," said Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton. "His speed, quickness and his ability to make decisions is phenomenal for a sophomore guard. I haven't seen anybody that has the whole package like he does."
The Hurricanes still hand to fend off one last charge, though, with FSU reeling off seven unanswered points and pulling within 68-63 on Ian Miller's jumper with 2:26 left to play. The deficit was trimmed to three, 69-66, on a layup and free throw from Bookert with 51 seconds on the clock, and the Seminoles had a chance to tie when Larkin missed from in close on the ensuing possession.
Miller got an open straight-up look from about 20 feet out, but the shot rimmed out and Johnson corralled the rebound and was fouled before making 1- of-2 bonus attempts for a 70-66 Miami edge.
Florida State's Michael Snaer was off the mark on his team's next trip, and Larkin sealed the outcome by hitting two free throws with seven seconds left.
"I was proud of the spurts that we had; that we were fighting real hard," said White of the Seminoles' effort. "That just shows that we can play hard and we can compete."
The Seminoles started out strong, forcing three early turnovers that were converted into six points in speeding out to a 13-2 lead just over five minutes in. Miami answered with a massive momentum shift shortly afterward, however, to assume control of the game.
Baskets by Larkin on consecutive possessions during the 21-4 surge moved the Hurricanes in front by a 20-18 count, and Trey McKinney Jones followed with a fastbreak dunk off a Seminoles giveaway to continue what would be an 11-0 sequence that staked Miami to a nine-point advantage with five minutes left in the half.
Florida State countered with a brief 5-0 flurry, which culminated in Miller's three-point play, to close within 27-23, but the Hurricanes ripped off an 11-4 burst to go ahead by double digits before Bookert canned a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to put the Seminoles into the break down 38-30.
Johnson became the 34th player in the history of the Miami program to record 1,000th career points on a bucket with 15:34 remaining in the second half ... The Hurricanes, who routed FSU by a 71-47 score in Coral Gables on Jan. 27, earned their first victory in Tallahassee since an 84-78 overtime decision on Jan. 29, 2006 and their first season sweep of the series since 2004-05 ... Scott made his 113th career start for Miami, tying Darius Rice for the most in program history ... Miami finished just 11-of-19 from the foul line ... The Seminoles fell to 0-5 against ranked opponents on the season.
02/13 23:25:17 ET