CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – According to their head coach, the Miami Hurricanes are in need of some signature wins.
Florida State visits Miami on Wednesday for the third game of a road trip that has thus far resulted in two defeats and seen the Seminoles drop from eighth to 16th in the rankings.
It doesn’t figure to get much easier for Florida State against the Hurricanes, who are coming off an impressive 77-62 victory over then-No. 6 North Carolina and have won 23 of their last 24 home games.
The Seminoles’ usually efficient offense (83.7 points while shooting 48.2 percent) was anything but in the first half of their losses to Georgia Tech (78-56) and Syracuse (82-72), averaging 20.5 points on 23.8 percent shooting that resulted in deficits of 26 and 18 points at the break.
Florida State showed signs of coming out of its funk in the second half against the Orange, drawing within 54-51 at one point, but couldn’t complete the comeback as it dropped behind North Carolina and Virginia in the conference standings.
The Hurricanes fell into an 11-4 hole against the explosive Tar Heels, but after coach Jim Larranaga switched to a 2-3 zone during an early timeout, they finished the half with a stunning 35-11 run as North Carolina went cold – shooting a woeful 20.7 percent (6-of-29).
“We went to zone and it disrupted what they wanted to do in getting their bigs involved,” Miami point guard Ja’Quan Newton told reporters after the victory. “Our bigs did a great job of fronting them and not letting them catch it, and that’s why we held them to what we held them to in the first half.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ACC Network
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (18-4, 6-3 ACC): Depth has been a strength, as 10 players average more than 12 minutes of playing time, but the team’s top scorers – Dwayne Bacon (17.2 points), Jonathan Isaac (13.2, 8.1 rebounds) and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (10.4, 4.6 assists) – scored 54 of its 72 points against the Orange while the bench produced only 15.
Florida State needs Terance Mann (8.6 points) and energetic freshman reserves CJ Walker (5.9) and Trent Forrest (5.5) to rebound after they combined for only 15 points in the losses.
The Seminoles average 7.6 steals with a pressure defense that could pose problems for Miami, which is 260th in Division 1 with a 0.90 assist-to-turnover ratio.
ABOUT MIAMI (14-6, 4-4): Bruce Brown (12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds) had been improving steadily, but the freshman guard took it to another level against the Tar Heels, scoring 30 points – the most by a Miami freshman since the school joined the ACC in 2004-05 – while also contributing four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Brown also ran the point to help Miami survive a long stretch in the second half with Newton (15.2 points, 3.9 assists), who has averaged 20.5 points over his last two games, on the bench with foul trouble.
Led by the defensive tenacity of Kamari Murphy(6.5 points, 8.2 rebounds), the Hurricanes held North Carolina big men Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks to a combined 12 points and outrebounded the Tar Heels – the nation’s top rebounding team – by a 41-36 margin.
- Larranaga (602-397) will be coaching his 1,000th collegiate game.
- Miami is 25-11 all-time at home against Florida State and has won the last three meetings.
- Both teams have made it tough on opposing shooters, with the Hurricanes ranking 24th in field-goal percentage defense (39.6) and the Seminoles 29th (39.9).
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