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Walker, Williams lead Florida State’s 99-81 rout of Miami

No. 8 Seminoles complete season sweep of Hurricanes

Florida State guard M.J. Walker celebrates a 3-point shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020.
Florida State guard M.J. Walker celebrates a 3-point shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State picked up win No. 20 on Sunday, finishing a season sweep of Miami. But the Seminoles also picked up some needed rest for a short turnaround against No. 7 Duke.

M.J. Walker and Patrick Williams scored 14 points apiece as No. 8 Florida State beat Miami 99-81 to win its fifth straight against the rivals.

Devin Vassell had 13 points and Wyatt Wilkes scored 11, knocking down three 3-pointers, for the Seminoles (20-3, 10-2 ACC). Florida State connected on 13 of 26 3-point attempts.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton made an effort to rest two starting guards, Trent Forrest and Vassell, with the top-10 showdown at Duke coming up Monday. Still, both were effective: Forrest had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in just under 24 minutes, while Vassell shot 5 of 9 from the floor and had five rebounds on 24 minutes.

“That's one of the things that if I could change anything in college basketball, I wouldn't want to play three games a week and I would not ever want to play a game with a one-day turnaround,” Hamilton said. “I think that's tremendously taxing on these young men, and we have three of them (Saturday-Monday games). One was North Carolina, Duke and the other was Louisville. By coincidence. Sometimes that's part of the luck of the draw. ... I do think it's extremely tough on our guys.”

Coming off a Saturday-Monday turnaround in which the Seminoles won at Virginia Tech and then knocked off North Carolina at home, Hamilton opted to rest two of his stars against Miami. Forrest had played 30 or more minutes in each ACC game while Vassell had played 31 or more minutes in his last nine ACC games.

Florida State's reserves more than picked up the slack. Williams, Wilkes, Dominik Olejniczak (eight points) and RayQuan Evans (eight points, four rebounds) led a Seminoles' bench that outscored Miami’s reserves 54-11.

“It's big,” Vassell said. “Our bodies are going through it when you have a few back-to-backs. People are hurting. It's huge for people to come in and step up.”

Isaiah Wong had a career-high 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting for Miami (11-12, 3-10). Sam Waardenburg added 15 points, Harlond Beverly had 14 and Dejan Vasiljevic scored 12 on 5-of-13 shooting.

Wong became a starter in January and is averaging 13.3 points, but on Saturday he was a consistent scorer by driving the lane. The freshman also made both of his 3-point attempts.

“I thought Isaiah had a great first half,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “He was really on the attack. He made some tough layups. He was able to get to the rim. He was able to get to the foul line as well.”

But Miami couldn't keep the Seminoles from winning the lopsided rebounding battle. Anthony Polite had eight rebounds for Florida State, which outrebounded Miami 46-24.

Florida State won 83-79 in overtime at Miami on Jan. 18.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes got a career day from Wong, and Chris Lykes returned after missing four games due to injury to score eight points. But the 'Canes used just eight players and ran out of gas in the second half as they shot 10 of 33 (30.3%).

Florida State: Five players scored in double figures and 13 players scored, including walk-ons Travis Light and Harrison Prieto. The Seminoles also had a 22-rebound edge over an ACC opponent, by far the largest margin for Florida State this season.

STRING OF 20-WIN SEASONS

Florida State has won 20 games for a fifth straight season, which is a school record. The Seminoles have won 118 games since the 2015-16 season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Florida State has made an argument to move up in the polls on the strength of three straight wins: at Virginia Tech, vs. North Carolina and vs. Miami.

UP NEXT

Miami plays host to Boston College on Wednesday.

Florida State is at No. 7 Duke on Monday.

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