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No. 9 Seminoles hold off Hurricanes 83-79 in OT

Florida State wins ninth consecutive game, 4 straight against Miami

Florida State Seminoles guard M.J. Walker shoots over Miami Hurricanes center Rodney Miller Jr. in the second half at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Florida State Seminoles guard M.J. Walker shoots over Miami Hurricanes center Rodney Miller Jr. in the second half at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida. (WPLG)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – M.J. Walker hit a 3-point shot to tie the game with 40 seconds remaining in regulation and No. 9 Florida State held on in overtime to beat Miami 83-79 on Saturday.

The win was Florida State’s ninth straight and fourth in a row against the Hurricanes (10-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Devin Vassell had 23 points and Walker added 19 as the Seminoles (16-2, 6-1 ACC) overcame a sloppy first-half effort.

“A 4-point victory, in my mind, is an ACC blowout,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game.

Miami’s Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic scored 24 and 19, respectively, in the losing effort.

Lykes came up with two clutch 3-pointers in overtime to keep the Hurricanes within reach, but he also had a season-high six turnovers.

Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes drives to the basket for a layup against the Florida State Seminoles at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes drives to the basket for a layup against the Florida State Seminoles at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida. (WPLG)

The Seminoles forced 24 turnovers, including four in overtime to account for five of their 14 points after regulation, and rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 4:33 of the second half.

“I think our team is showing signs of developing a little bit better understanding of how we have to play, this edition of our team, to give us a chance to win,” Hamilton said. “We’re not the lob, catch and shot-blocking team that you’ve become accustomed to seeing, so we are kind of reinventing ourselves as we go.”

Walker ran into foul trouble early and was held scoreless in the first half, but he made up for it with his second-half heroics.

Miami built its largest lead with 5:20 remaining in regulation, but miscues doomed the Hurricanes down the stretch, allowing FSU to hang around.

It was a sloppy first half for both teams, who combined for 17 total fouls through the opening 20 minutes.

Miami Hurricanes guard Harlond Beverly drives to the basket for a layup against Florida State center Dominik Olejniczak in the first half at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Miami Hurricanes guard Harlond Beverly drives to the basket for a layup against Florida State center Dominik Olejniczak in the first half at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida. (WPLG)

Miami called a timeout just 30 seconds into the game, got the ball back on an offensive rebound after a missed jumper by Rodney Miller and then turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation.

Lykes opened the scoring on a 3-point shot off Raiquan Gray’s turnover and helped Miami get out to an early 10-4 lead, but the Hurricanes couldn’t get out of their own way, allowing FSU to chip away at the score.

Vassell’s jumper at the 8:50 mark in the opening half gave FSU a 13-12 lead -- its first of the game. Vassell’s first 3-pointer later tied the game at 19.

After a shot clock violation gave FSU the ball back with 1:07 before the break, Miami nabbed the rebound looking to build on its 30-27 lead, but Sam Waardenburg missed a dunk, allowing Vassell to cut the score on a layup on the other end of the court.

The Seminoles went into the locker room with a 31-30 halftime lead after Lykes missed a pair of free throws, allowing Trent Forrest to hit a jumper in the paint with one second left on the clock.

“I was probably the only one that was really, really concerned,” Hamilton said. “Our players kept saying, ‘We can win the game.’ You know, in my mind, I’m saying, ‘Man, we’ve got to turn it up a notch,’ and that’s what they did.”

Florida State, which is now alone atop the ACC standings, won despite shooting just 42% and committing 16 turnovers.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Seminoles will likely be the biggest beneficiaries from a week of upsets among top 10 teams.