CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)Down by 25 early in the second half, Florida State decided not to stop playing.
And the Seminoles ended Miami’s hopes of a perfect home season.
Matthew Cleveland’s 3-pointer as time expired capped Florida State’s comeback from a huge deficit and the Seminoles stunned No. 13 Miami 85-84 on Saturday.
”We showed a little bit about who we are,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Jordan Miller had given Miami the lead on a 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left. But Cleveland let fly from about 25 feet and the ball swished to give the Seminoles (9-20, 7-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) their best moment of the season.
They ended Miami’s seven-game winning streak, knocked the Hurricanes out of the outright lead in the ACC standings and denied the bid for a perfect home record. Miami was 15-0 at the Watsco Center entering Saturday.
”Miami’s a really, really good basketball team. … I would hate to play them in the NCAA Tournament,” Hamilton said.
Cleveland and Darin Green Jr. each had 20 points for Florida State, which got 13 from Caleb Mills and 11 from Jalen Warley.
Miller led Miami (23-6, 14-5) with 21 points. Norchad Omier had 15, Isaiah Wong scored 14 and Bensley Joseph added 12 for the Hurricanes.
”We played as well as we could in the first half,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. ”But it appeared to me to start the second half that our battery died. We didn’t have the energy or juice and it showed most of all with our defense.”
Miami simply could not get stops in the second half. Florida State shot 68% in the final 20 minutes, lost the lead twice in the final 40 seconds – then stunned its biggest rival anyway.
”Credit to them. They played hard,” Miller said. ”I think they just wanted it more. We came out unfocused. … We’ve just got to find a way to close out games like this. There’s no excuse for us losing this game.”
Miami ran out to a 14-2 lead after 3 1/2 minutes, and Florida State chipped away to get within 28-23 with 8:12 left in the half.
The next seven minutes were all Miami.
It appeared a 22-2 run would essentially put the game away before halftime, pushing the Hurricanes’ lead to 50-25. Miami made eight of its final 10 shots of the half.
”The first half, we just weren’t ready,” Hamilton said.
And then came halftime. The Seminoles sure looked ready.
”We did not tell them anything at halftime that we didn’t tell them before the game started,” Hamilton said.
The Seminoles made 10 of their first 30 shots of the game – then made 10 of their next 11, getting Miami’s lead down to 61-49 with 14:45 left. That was part of a 35-10 run that gave FSU the lead for the first time on a layup by Mills with 5:56 remaining.
The lead would change hands 10 more times down the stretch, the last of those off Cleveland’s desperation heave after Miller’s go-ahead 3 at the other end.
”I knew they were going to celebrate,” Cleveland said. ”If we get down and push, we’d get a decent shot.”
It was better than decent. It was perfect.
Florida State: The Seminoles have, for now, avoided tying a school record for losses. The only FSU team to lose 21 games was the 2000-01 club, which was part of a run of five consecutive losing seasons for the Seminoles. This year will be the end of what has been a stretch of 17 consecutive winning seasons for Florida State.
Miami: The Hurricanes were without guard Nijel Pack, who was ruled out with a lower extremity injury. Miami is listing him as day to day. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, with 41% shooting on 3-pointers.
Miami will be in the AP Top 25 for the 12th consecutive week when the latest rankings are released Monday. But the Hurricanes will likely fall a few spots.
Florida State: Host North Carolina on Monday in its home finale.
Miami: Host Pittsburgh on March 4 in the regular-season finale.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll