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Bacon sizzles as No. 23 Seminoles pull away in second half, defeat Manhattan

Florida State wins seventh straight game at Orange Bowl Basketball Classic

Florida State's Dwayne Bacon and head coach Leonard Hamilton pose with Orange Bowl mascot OBIE and Orange Bowl officials after Bacon is named MVP of the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. (Jeff Romance)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Dwayne Bacon and the Seminoles shook off a sluggish first half as No. 23 Florida State came alive in the second half to defeat Manhattan 83-67 Saturday in Sunrise for their seventh consecutive victory in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

Florida State, wearing its tribal colors, led by just five points at halftime, but the Seminoles switched to a zone defense in the second half and held the Jaspers to 26 points the rest of the way.

"We probably played more zone defense today than we've had to play the last two or three years," Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Bacon led the Seminoles (11-1) in scoring with 16 points, 12 of which came after the break. The sophomore guard was recognized as the game's most valuable player -- the second such honor for Bacon, who was MVP in Florida State's 64-59 win against Florida Atlantic in last year's Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

"We just knew that we could play a lot better than we were," Bacon said of his team's second-half performance.

Fifth-year senior Michael Ojo opened the scoring for the Seminoles. The 7-foot-1 center, who missed all of last season with an injury, scored all seven of his points in the first half.

"Ojo got us off to a good start," Hamilton said. "They gave us a lot of opportunities to get the ball inside."

The Jaspers tied the game 27-27 with 7:28 left in the first half and took their first lead on a free throw shot by junior Zavier Turner.

Freshman guard Trent Forrest hit a jumper at the buzzer to end the first half, extending FSU's lead to 46-41.

The 87 combined first-half points set an Orange Bowl Basketball Classic record.

Bacon has now scored double figures in 21 consecutive games dating to Feb. 17 of last season. It is the longest active double-figure scoring streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Florida State has won seven straight games and is off to its best start since the 2008-09 season, when the Seminoles won 25 games and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Hamilton credited his team's "unselfish spirit" for the early success.

"I think we've got a lot of room for improvement," Hamilton said. "I think we're moving in the right direction. We're not perfect."

The Seminoles improved to 7-1 on the hard court at the BB&T Center. Their only loss in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic was to Massachusetts in their first appearance in 1999.


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