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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes are having a solid season but want to improve their play inside the ACC, especially on the road.
No. 12 Miami will look for a season sweep against Florida State when it visits Tallahassee on Sunday.
The Hurricanes breezed past the Seminoles 72-59 in early January but are only 7-28 against Florida State as a visitor, including a 55-54 loss last season.
The Hurricanes rebounded from a poor first half to escape with a 65-63 home win Tuesday against Pittsburgh on a tip-in with 1.4 seconds left by 5-11 senior point guard Angel Rodriguez.
“We didn’t defend them the way we really wanted to in the first half, but I thought our second-half defense was terrific,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga told reporters after the game. “We were outrebounded 20-12 in the first half, but we came back and rebounded much better in the second half. … We needed a little bit of luck at the end, and Angel Rodriguez provided it.”
Florida State’s four-game winning streak ended at Syracuse on Thursday when the Orange shot 62 percent from the field and frustrated the Seminoles with their 2-3 zone.
“All the things that we had in our game plan, for whatever reason, we just didn’t get it done offensively tonight,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton told reporters after the 85-72 loss. “I thought their defense was excellent. … We had a very difficult time penetrating into the lane, their experience showed tonight and our inexperience showed.”
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT MIAMI (19-4, 8-3 ACC): Rodriguez (11.4 points), scoreless in Miami’s previous game against Georgia Tech, rebounded with 17 points and eight assists against Pittsburgh.
According to KenPom.com, senior shooting guard Sheldon McClellan (team-leading 16.1 points on 53.4 percent shooting) is the nation’s second-most efficient offensive player among those used in 20 percent of possessions.
Larranaga told reporters that 7-foot senior center Tonye Jekiri (8.1 points, 9.8 rebounds) should be considered for ACC defensive player of the year honors though many of his contributions, like his ball-screen defense, don’t show up in the statistics.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (16-8, 6-6): The Seminoles are led offensively by the freshman duo of Malik Beasley (17.2) and Dwayne Bacon (16.0) but they’ll need to do much better than in the first meeting against Miami when they were held to a combined 23 points on 9-of-28 shooting.
Sophomore playmaker Xavier Rathan-Mayes (11.7) has struggled with his shot (38.7 percent) but is third in the ACC in assists (4.9).
Senior guard Devon Bookert (9.4) is a dangerous 3-point shooter off the bench while 7-3 senior center Boris Bojanovsky (39 blocks) is a good rim protector.
- Rodriguez is averaging 7.2 assists in his last five games with at least five in each game.
- Florida State’s 59 points in its earlier loss against Miami was a season-low total.
- Guards Bacon (5.7) and Beasley (5.4) are the Seminoles’ top two rebounders.
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