Despite getting off to a 21-6 start, Florida State fell just short of beating North Carolina on Monday night 81-75. The Seminoles will fall to 6-8 in the ACC and 15-11 overall. North Carolina jumps to 8-4 in the ACC and 18-7 overall. This was North Carolina’s seventh straight win going into a game with rival Duke. This was Florida State’s seventh loss out of their last ten games since getting crushed by Virginia on January 18th.
After the strong start North Carolina battled back and pulled to within three at halftime. Head coach Leonard Hamilton attributed this to the Seminoles lack of depth.
“I thought that [UNC] had a little more depth than we did toward the latter part of the first half,” Hamilton said. “We seemed to fatigue and gave up more dribble-drives and points in the paint than we wanted to.”
Florida State came out of the second half strong and stretched the lead to seven with 16:45 left in the game. North Carolina finally tied the game up with 10:37 left and that’s when Marcus page got hot. The Tar Heels outscored the Seminoles 48 to 39 in the second half and made key free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Kennedy Meeks and Marcus Paige led the way for the Tar Heels. Meeks had 23 points on 11 of 12 shooting and also had 7 rebounds. It took a little while for Paige to get going, but he hit 3 three-pointers in the last 10 minutes of the game and ended up with 20 points. Brice Johnson had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. J.P. Tokoto added 10 points as well. Florida State held James Michael McAdoo to 0 points and 0 rebounds in 13 minutes. He fouled out with 4:19 left in the game. McAdoo had scored in double-digits seventeen games straight.
Ian Miller, Aaron Thomas, and Montay Brandon led the Seminoles. Miller scored 22 points following his 25 point performance against Wake. He hit 5 of his 8 three point attempts. Brandon added 18 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Thomas scored 16, but only shot 31.6 percent with 19 attempts tonight. Michael Ojo fouled out with 5 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes. Okaro White finished with 4 points and 4 fouls in a game where he was in foul trouble early and only played 17 minutes. Coach Hamilton believed this had a big impact on the game.
“We’re not quite as deep as we have been in the past, and for us to lose our most experienced senior player was a bit more challenging than it would have been had we been in another situation,” Hamilton said. “I thought our guys held together pretty good during that stretch, but I thought not having him made a big difference.”
North Carolina dominated the boards, especially on the offensive end, outrebounding the Seminoles 42-32 with 14 offensive boards. The Tar Heels also dominated in the paint scoring 50 of their 81 points there. North Carolina shot poorly in the first half, but shot 67.9 percent in the second half to finish the game shooting 51.6 percent. Florida State Shot in the mid-forties throughout the game and finished shooting 43.1 percent.
Florida State’s schedule doesn’t get any easier from this point as their next game is at Pittsburgh on Sunday at 6 PM. The Panthers are 8-5 in the ACC and 20-6 overall. The game will be played on ESPNU.