In the first half, it appeared as if Miami had erased the memory of a disappointing home loss to Georgia Tech, leading Florida State by 11 points on the road.
It would not last. Led by 18 points from Montay Brandon, Florida State (12-10, 4-5 ACC) rallied from a 16 point deficit in the second half for an emotional 55-54 win over Miami (14-7, 4-4) Sunday afternoon at the Tucker Center, as Sheldon McClellan could not convert a buzzer beating floater in the lane.
Miami scored just 18 points in the second period, after tallying 36 in the first.
“Florida State defended us very well in the second half,” Larrañaga said after the game. “We were trying to do what we’d been doing, and I thought we did do that, but maybe with some anxiousness at the end. We had two turnovers to start the second half that led to dunks, and I really think that got them going.”
Angel Rodriguez’s struggles from the field continued Sunday. Rodriguez shot 3-11 for eight points on the afternoon. McClellan led all Canes with 13 points, while Davon Reed added 11.
Miami’s big men found themselves in foul trouble throughout the game. With 12 minutes left in the game, Tonye Jekiri and Joe Thomas each had three fouls, and Ivan Cruz Uceda had four. It was a rare off day for Jekiri who has shown great consistency this season – he ended the afternoon with just four points and five rebounds, about half his average for both.
Reed noted post-game that Miami had responded well in practice after the 70-50 loss to Georgia Tech.
“I think the biggest thing is maintaining our focus throughout the season,” he said. “I thought we had good focus in the practices following that.”
The Noles finally tied the game with 5:19 left in the game, and regained the lead a minute later. Miami had possession with the shot clock off for the final shot of the game.
Florida State had a strong performance from their bench, outscoring Miami 30-16 in that department. Deandre Burnett did not see any playing time.
Miami’s game against Louisville now holds more importance for the Canes after back-to-back ACC losses. UM now sits at 4-4 in ACC play.