Down one, Syracuse was able to get a stop in the final minute, but they could not get a score to take the lead. Florida State, however, responded with a dunk and added a pair of foul shots after a terrible turnover by Joe Girard III to pull out a 76-71 road win. With the last-second escape, the Seminoles (10-5, 4-2 ACC) got their third straight win while the Orange (8-9, 2-4 ACC) lost for the fourth time in five outings.
Girard was the closest defender as Matthew Cleveland slammed home two points for FSU with under ten seconds to play and took the ball out of the net. With SU now trailing, 74-71, Girard quickly turned and heaved an inbounds pass into the frontcourt, but the ball was stolen by the ‘Noles RayQuan Evans and all Jimmy Boeheim could do was commit a foul. Two Evans free throws later, the game was all but over.
After shooting 4-for-30 from deep in the two teams’ first matchup, Florida State simply torched SU from the perimeter, connecting on 12-of-20 three-pointers. That proficiency led to the Seminoles shooting just under 55 percent overall for the game. The guests’ marksmanship was simply too much for Syracuse to handle, even as they shot over 47 percent overall and 41 percent from three.
Cole Swider knocked down a pair of open triples during an 11-2 Orange run to take a 20-11 lead after the under-12 media time out of the first half. Joe Girard III had a half dozen points in an 8-2 run to push SU to their biggest lead of the day at 28-18 with a little over five minutes before the break.
The Seminoles struck back with eight unanswered points to bring the margin down to two. Syracuse held on, though, maintaining their lead and going to half with a 37-36 edge.
FSU jumped out in front early in the second half, but never got more than four points away from the Orange until a pair of treys gave them a 53-47 advantage. Florida State nudged that lead out to seven with just under a dozen minutes left, but their offense went into a slump and SU ran off ten straight points for a 62-59 lead with under nine minutes to play.
Shortly after that, Syracuse went into their own cold streak, failing to score for nearly four minutes. The ‘Noles, naturally, took advantage, notching a pair of triples for a 67-64 lead with just under five minutes left.
The guests stretched the lead to four points, but a Jesse Edwards free throw and a Jimmy Boeheim putback brought the Orange within 72-71 with just over a minute to play. SU forced a shot clock violation, but could not convert on offense, setting the scene for Florida State’s late scores.
Buddy Boeheim paced the Orange with 18 points. Cole Swider hit four threes as he added 17 points, but did not score in the last ten minutes of the game. Jesse Edwards had 15 points and three blocked shots while Joe Girard III added 11 points, all in the first half.
Caleb Mills bombed in five triples for FSU en route to a game-high 19 points. RayQuan Evans backed him with 15 points, including 13 in the second half. Wyatt Wilkes hit three triples for the majority of his 11 points while Matthew Cleveland chipped in with nine markers.