– It was a tale of two halves Wednesday night, as Miami fell to No. 15/16 Florida State, 75-57, at the Watsco Center.
Looking for their fourth straight win in the series, the Hurricanes appeared in command for most of the first half, taking a seven-point lead late in the frame and entering the locker room leading 34-31.
But the Seminoles, sparked by a three from Terance Mann on their first offensive possession of the second half, opened the final 20 minutes on a 16-2 run. The visitors would take their biggest lead of the night up to that point, 47-36, with 13:05 to go, and held on to snap a two-game losing streak.
After an opening bucket from junior Ja’Quan Newton on their first possession of the second half, the Hurricanes were held scoreless for the next 7:01 as the visitors regained a comfortable lead.
Miami (14-7, 4-5 ACC) broke the drought on a layup from freshman Bruce Brown with just over 12 minutes remaining, cutting the lead to nine at 47-38.
An impressive Newton take to the rim followed by a breakaway dunk from senior Davon Reed off an FSU turnover sent the 7,972 fans in attendance into a frenzy, prompting a timeout from Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton with 7:36 to go.
Florida State (19-4, 7-3 ACC) responded to the surge with a 9-2 run of its own, sealing its first win over Miami since exactly two years ago to the day. Florida State finished the night shooting 27-for-52 (52 percent) while Miami finished 19-for-42 (45 percent). The Seminoles outscored Miami 44-23 in the second half.
Three Hurricanes scored in double figures: Brown (17), Newton (12) and Reed (12).
Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon had 15 points each. The Seminoles made seven of 18 three-point attempts, while Miami finished just 2-for-11 beyond the arc.
There were five lead changes in the game’s first 7:07, as neither team was able to gain much of an early footing.
Reed hit his first three shots, including a 3-pointer, for seven points before the first timeout, while Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes hit threes on back-to-back possessions in the early going.
Freshman Dewan Huell scored five straight points over three possessions for a 20-18 Miami lead with under seven minutes to play in the first half. A slam dunk from Newton followed by two free throws by the junior on the following possession pushed the lead to six at 28-22.
Miami’s biggest lead of the half came at 34-27 on a pair of free throws from Brown with 1:07 remaining. But the Seminoles got a free throw from Jarquez Smith and another Rathan-Mayes three cut the lead to 34-31 entering the halftime locker room.
Reed and Rathan-Mayes led all first-half scorers with nine points apiece.
Facing one of the nation’s largest rosters, the Hurricanes outrebounded the Seminoles 16-12 in the first frame and shot 48 percent from the field (11-of-23) and 92 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.
Miami’s starters against Florida State included Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown, Davon Reed, Anthony Lawrence Jr. and Kamari Murphy.
This is just the fifth time this season, third in a row, Miami has started with this lineup. The Hurricanes are 3-2 with this lineup.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga coached in his 1,000th career game. He has coached 53 games at American International, 314 at Bowling Green, 437 at George Mason and now 196 at Miami.
Freshman guard Bruce Brown led the Canes in scoring with 17 points, while also adding five rebounds and two steals. This is the second consecutive game the Boston native led the way in scoring, and tonight marks the fifth of six games the freshman has reached double digits. Brown has also grabbed at least four rebounds in 20 of 21 games this season.
Senior guard Davon Reed and junior guard Ja’Quan Newton both tallied 12 points apiece.
Knocking down a three early in the first half, Reed extended his streak of at least one made 3-pointer in each gamethis season. The senior has reached double digits in 18 games this season, and 15 of the last 16 contests.
Newton has scored 11-plus points in every game but three (WFU-9, FAU-8, Syracuse-8). Shooting 4-of-4 from the free throw line, the Philadelphia native has now drained 18 in a row, beginning with one made in the second half against Duke, added to a 7-of-7 performance vs. Boston College and 6-of-6 against No. 9/6 North Carolina.
The Hurricanes dished out a season-low five assists as a team.
Miami Head Coach, Coach Jim Larranaga
“I thought both teams played really hard and well in the first half. I thought it was a high-level basketball game. I thought their effort and intensity and execution in the second half just kept us from scoring. They’re defensive. [Michael] Ojo protecting the paint and then scoring on the other end. We fouled him. They were able to take a commanding lead midway through the second half and we were never able to get stops enough to make a run on our own.
“In recent games, they didn’t shoot the three as well as they did tonight and didn’t shoot their free throws as well as they did tonight. They had no weakness in their offensive game. They made a lot of key shots and threes. We were the opposite. We missed some open threes, we went only 2-for-11 from three - when you shoot 18 percent from three against a team that’s as big as they are, it’s hard to get layups. It wasn’t that we shot too few, it’s just that we couldn’t hit any.”
Freshman G Bruce Brown
On the difference between the first half and second half…
“They just packed the lane. We couldn’t get in the lane and have easy opportunities. Their length messed us up a little bit.”
On fatigue in the second half with a roster of fewer players…
“I don’t think it was a factor.”
On Miami’s run in the second half to cut the Florida State lead to single digits…
“We know basketball is a game of runs. That was our run. We thought we were going to keep the foot on the gas, but we let up a little too much. They out-rebounded us today. I think that was a big factor.”
“We watched a lot of film on Miami. Their team was extremely dangerous. Obviously, playing as well as they did against Carolina got our attention. We realized that we had to be at our very, very best in order for us to be successful here. In the first half it was nip and tuck, and we couldn’t get over the hump until the second half. I thought in the second half our defense tightend up a little bit, and we got a stretch there where we had eight straight stops. We did a much better job executing on the offensive end, and got some baskets and some easy opportunities. During that stretch, we got enough separation, we were kind of able to hang on, I thought. Once they became more aggressive, they opened up the floor because the game was winding down and they took some chances. We were able to extend the lead. The game, with the exception of that, probably would have been a lot closer than the score had we not spread the floor and them having to come at us. We got to the foul line, went 14-of-15 from the free throw line. In the first half we couldn’t get any attempts - they did a very good job of defending us without fouling. They’re very disciplined in their defensive execution. They don’t reach and grab a lot. Our kids were overly aggressive, I thought, in the first half and put them on the foul line, and I thought that was the biggest difference in the score in the first half.”