SUNRISE, Fla. — No. 19-ranked Florida State used smothering defense to overcome a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes and beat South Florida 66-60 Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic.
The Seminoles forced 24 turnovers, including seven as they outscored the Bulls 19-3 down the stretch. Florida State forced four shot-clock violations and won despite being outrebounded by 14 and shooting only 40 percent, including 7 for 27 from 3-point range.
RaiQuan Gray had 11 points, seven rebounds and three of Florida State’s 13 steals. Anthony Polite, Trent Forrest and M.J. Walker also scored 11 points apiece.
Florida State (10-2) scored 21 points off turnovers to earn its third win in a row. South Florida (6-6) lost to a ranked team for the 27th consecutive time since 2012.
A flurry of nine points in 39 seconds by the Bulls — including a pair of 3s and two free technical foul free throws — helped them lead 57-47 with 6:32 to go. But they didn’t score another field goal until garbage time with 3 seconds left, and committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions as the Seminoles pulled ahead.
Devin Vassell’s jumper with two minutes left put Florida State in front to stay.
Michael Durr had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Bulls, but they shot just 3 for 15 from 3-point range.
The Seminoles trailed for more than 33 minutes, and made only one of their first 13 shots as South Florida raced to a 17-4 advantage. Florida State missed its first 10 3-point tries.
Xavier Castaneda’s driving layup with three seconds left in the first half gave the Bulls a 31-28 halftime lead.
Trent Forrest’s layup with eight minutes to go gave the Seminoles their first lead, 47-46.
Florida State is unbeaten in three neutral-site games.
South Florida has a .500 record for the fifth time this season.
Florida State plays host to North Alabama on Dec. 28 before returning to Atlantic Coast Conference play.
South Florida plays host to Florida Atlantic on Dec. 29.