RALEIGH, NC.— Florida State (11-5, 1-3) finally got the hot start they’d been looking for in conference play, coming out strong en route to a 85-78 win over the NC State Wolfpack (10-7, 0-4), notching their first ACC win of the season. The Seminoles took the lead at the 17:40 mark in the first half, and never trailed again.
Malik Beasley led the Noles with 22 points and eight rebounds as they outshot the Wolfpack 50% to 37.5%. Senior Devon Bookert added 18 points (4-4 from 3-pt) of his own as the Noles were able to hold off a late Wolfpack surge. ACC leading scorer, NC State’s Cat Barber, scored 16 points, nearly seven below his season average (22.9 PPG). Abdul-Malik Abu led the Wolfpack with 21 pts and 13 rebounds, while Dwayne Bacon came on in the second half to add 15 points for the Noles. Five Seminoles shot over 50 percent for the game.
The Seminoles came out shooting from the start, hitting 51.7 percent from the floor (50% from 3) in the first half and jumping out to a 38-28 halftime lead. Likewise, NC State shot 33.3 percent and just 21.4 percent from three point range in the opening half. The Wolfpack were held scoreless in the final four minutes of the half, allowing the Noles to enter the break with a double-digit advantage.
That opening period fed into a successful start to the second half for the Seminoles, but the Pack were able close to gap to just five with 12:46 left. After an NC State miss, Malik Beasley took the ball the length of the court for a layup and was fouled by NC State’s Barber, giving Barber his third foul and halting the NCSU attack. The Wolfpack would close the gap to five at the 8:50 mark, but Devon Bookert hit a three-pointer with 8:02 to stop the second run.
Down six points with 48 seconds to go, NCSU’s Maverick Rowan hit two consecutive threes to close the gap to just three, giving the Wolfpack life for a third time. It was not to be, as the Noles hit FT’s and stopped NC State’s final possessions to hold on for a much-needed win.
Coming in, both teams were striving for their first conference victory, each led by high-scoring backcourts. Coach Leonard Hamilton knew the team might have to scrap to gain the upper hand in the contest, and that was the case as the Seminoles were forced to hold off several Wolfpack runs in the second half. Florida State was able to shoot efficiently from the floor and get the stops they needed on the defensive end.
Coach Hamilton showed the Seminoles’ depth as the bench scored over 30 of the team’s 85 points. With Boris Bojanovsky in foul trouble for much of the game, freshman center Christ Koumadje contributed 11 valuable minutes, providing three blocks and two boards. Freshman forward Terance Mann continues to grow as a player, as he came off the bench for seven points, nine boards and two blocks in 27 minutes. The freshmen group of Beasley, Bacon, and Mann, along with senior guard Bookert, continue to be the Seminoles’ most consistent and reliable playmakers.They pushed the pace of the game, consistently exploding toward the rim and getting out in transition. With the benefit of their quick pace, the Seminoles were able to stave off the Wolfpack in the final minutes and leave PNC Arena with a ‘W’.
Next up, the Seminoles will host the no. 13/11 Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday, January 17th at 6:30p.m. inside the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, looking for another conference win. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.