CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Seminoles.com) — The No. 16 Florida State Seminoles saw their eight-game winning come to an end on Saturday as they fell to No. 8 North Carolina, 77-59, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
After winning reeling off a school-record for consecutive ACC wins, the Seminoles (21-6, 9-5) hung toe-to-toe with the Tar Heels (22-5, 12-2 ACC) throughout the first 30 minutes of competition, trailing 56-52 with 10:36 left. It was a late surge by the home team that put the game out of reach.
Graduate guard David Nichols led the way for the Seminoles behind a dominant performance from behind the arc. The transfer from Chicago, Ill., scored a team-high 16 points on 4-9 shooting from 3-point range, all while playing in 22 minutes of action.
For Nichols, his four 3-point shots made tied his FSU career-high (four; last vs. Clemson, January 22). In his last three games, Nichols has made eight of 16 from the beyond the arc, with eight 3-point shots made being the most he has made in a three-game period in a Florida State uniform.
The game began as a defensive affair, with North Carolina holding a 2-0 lead throughout the first 2:29 until senior center Christ Koumadje slammed home a dunk off a senior forward Terance Mann assist to open things up for the Seminoles with 17:31 left in the half.
Terance Mann continued to showcase his ability as one of the most complete players in the conference. The three-year starter stuffed the stat sheet against the Tar Heels, finishing with 10 points, a season-high tying six assists, four rebounds, two steals, a block and hit two 3-point shots.
After tying the game at 13-13, North Carolina went on an 18-5 run over a near seven-minute span that brought the score to 31-18 with 6:38 left in the first half.
Just when the Tar Heels punched what appeared to be a backbreaking run, the Noles continued to prove their resilient effort and fired back with their own 11-0 run in which four different Seminoles sparked the comeback effort.
The run was kicked off by redshirt freshman forward RaiQuan Gray, who connected on his sixth career 3-point shot to put the game at 31-21 with 5:25 left in the first half.
Having Christ Koumadje and redshirt sophomore forward Mfiondu Kabengele battling foul trouble through much of the game, it was Gray who shined in his 10 minutes to the Seminoles a lift. The Fort Lauderdale native finished with six points, three rebounds and a block on a perfect two-of-two from beyond the arc.
Forrest then contributed to the run with a driving two-handed flush off of a perfect feed from Mann. On the next possession, Mann hit a corner 3-pointer, putting the score at 31-26 in favor of the Tar Heels with 4:23 remaining.
After connecting on two 3-point shots in the contest, Mann has not only provided evidence of his ability to shine at all aspects of the game, but has showcased one of the greatest 3-point improvements in the ACC. After entering his senior season having made 24 threes on 27.2 percent shooting from the arc, Mann has skyrocketed his percentage to 47.2 on the year and has made 25 shots from deep.
Nichols capped the 11-0 run after hitting a three-point shot as the Seminoles trailed 31-29 with 3:03 left in the first half.
After finding themselves behind 31-18, the Seminoles closed the half by outscoring the Tar Heels 16-6, during which Nichols scored the last eight points.
The Seminoles clawed their way back into the contest, trailing the Tar Heels 37-34 at the half.
The second half started as a continuation of the first half, back-and-forth contest, as the game was shaping up to be a “game of runs.”
Leading 48-43 with 13:20 left in regulation, the Tar Heels used a 7-3 run to extend their lead to 55-46.
As they had done all afternoon, the Seminoles answered back with a 6-1 run of their own, where Mann continued to make plays all over the court. He hit a layup and then answered back by grabbing a loose ball and kicking out on the wing to Gray, who hit a 3-pointer, closing the gap to 56-52 with 10:36 left.
Florida State’s shooters then seemingly went cold, which made it more difficult by the minute to keep pace with the Tar Heels.
Over the final 10 minutes of play, North Carolina outscored the Noles 21-7.
Time would run out and the Seminoles would fall, 77-59 on the road after beating North Carolina a year ago.
Florida State returns to action quickly as it hosts Notre Dame on Monday night at 7 p.m. The Noles will play two games in three days for the third time this season in conference play and are 1-1 in such matchups, winning their lone home game against Clemson (77-68, January 22).
Limited tickets are still available at Seminoles.com.