Feb. 11, 2012
James scored 15 of his game- and career-high 18 points in the second half all while dealing with Miami’s 6-foot-10, 290-pound center, Reggie Johnson.
That’s how many times James missed in the second half. He was 7-for-8 from the field.
There were five lead changes between the Seminoles and Hurricanes.
FSU got 21 points from its bench on Saturday — six more than the Hurricanes did from their reserves.
Florida State has now won eight of its last nine ballgames.
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s not very often that Florida State’s Bernard James finds himself at a size disadvantage but then again not every team has someone like Miami’s Reggie Johnson.
Despite being about 50 pounds lighter than his 6-foot-10, 290-pound counterpart at center, James scored 15 of his career-high-tying 18 points Saturday and No. 15/17 FSU earned a 64-59 win over the visiting Hurricanes.
With the help of the Seminoles’ (17-7, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) guard pressure, James limited Johnson to four points. He also added six rebounds and four blocks and several second-half dunks that excited the Donald L. Tucker Center’s capacity crowd.
“Basically he’s a man out there. He’s strong,” said Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who’s team had won five a row before making the in-state trek to Tallahassee. “He’s very much emotionally in control. He doesn’t seem to get flustered by anything.”
James didn’t let Miami’s (15-8, 6-4) ability to limit his first-half touches and Johnson’s size to alter what he did after both team’s emerged from the halftime locker room with the ‘Noles leading 28-26.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior made seven of his eight shots in the second period, contributing to FSU’s 52.2-percent shooting clip in that half. James also figured out the best way to use Johnson’s presence against him.
“One time I went at him and I hit him pretty much as hard as I could and I bounced off him,” James said. “I tried to get him in ball screens more to keep him running. It was definitely a team effort.”
Michael Snaer added 12 points and Ian Miller scored 11 for the Seminoles as the team shot 46 percent overall for the day. FSU was actually outscored in the paint 30-26 and out-rebounded 35-29 by the Hurricanes but simply made more plays than its opponent in critical second-half moments.
From Luke Loucks’ shot-clock beating lay-up with just over two minutes to play to successful trips to the free-throw line by both Miller and Okaro White with less than 30 seconds on the clock, FSU did what was required to win a game that featured five lead changes and nine ties.
“A lot of guys just seized the moments,” Loucks said. “A lot of different guys stepped up and made plays when they had to.”
With the win, Florida State stays in first place in the ACC while moving to 5-0 against conference foes that are in the top half of the league standings.
The ‘Noles also successfully bounced back from a surprising upset at Boston College earlier in the week — a setback that marked the end of the team’s seven-game winning streak.
“The guys responded because they have pride knowing that we faltered and didn’t play quite as well as we are capable of,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
FSU returns to action Thursday night when Virginia Tech comes to town for a 7 p.m. game.