TALLAHASSEE -- It may not be a banner season for Jim Larrañaga’s Miami Hurricanes but a win over the rival Florida State Seminoles — especially one that damages their NCAA Tournament hopes — is always welcome.
“It was a total team effort tonight, we definitely stepped up in a lot of key areas,” said guard Garrius Adams. “We made some adjustments to our starting lineup and that was one of the big keys for us tonight. Overall we just played a really good game.”
Going with a lineup that featured five senior starters, the Hurricanes rode 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from Donovan Kirk and kept the pressure on late as the Seminoles tried to scratch and claw their way back into the game over the final minutes of regulation.
Despite shooting better than 50 percent during the second half, the Seminoles were never able to pull ahead.
The Hurricanes (12-12, 3-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) led throughout and kept pouring it in down the stretch — at one point converting on 10 consecutive possessions — to hold on and win 77-73.
“One of the things we do by slowing the game down is control the tempo,” Adams said. “We try to share the ball as much as we can to have the shot clock low so you can get a good shot at the end of the shot clock and I think we did a good job of that.”
Larrañaga called it Miami’s most complete effort to date.
“That was the most complete games we’ve played on both ends of the court,” Larrañaga said. “Offensively we did a terrific job of staying with what we planned to do, the guys down the stretch made their free throws.
“Everything that we asked the players to do they did and the end result was a great finish for us, a great road victory.”
It came with very little rest, too. Both teams were playing their third game in six days — and it showed at times — but the fatigue seemed to impact the Hurricanes less than it did the Seminoles (14-10, 5-7).
Fatigued or not, the loss was especially damaging to the Seminoles, who started the season 13-5, but have now lost five of their past six and can see their tournament hopes fading quickly.
Florida State did get some good news with the return of Ian Miller. After missing a couple games with a sprained ankle, Miller returned on Monday night and quickly made an impact — connecting on three first half three-pointers to pull Florida State back into the game as the teams headed into the locker rooms for halftime. He finished with 13 points.
Aaron Thomas had 16 for the Seminoles, Okaro White added 14 and Boris Bojanovsky 13 as FSU outshot and out-rebounded Miami for the game.
Unfortunately for the Seminoles they couldn’t get key stops in the second half and struggled to get to the free throw line, attempting just 14 shots from the charity stripe to 33 for the Hurricanes.
Center Tonye Jekiri added 15 points for Miami and guards Rion Brown and Garrius Adams put in 14 and 12, respectively.
The win returned UM to the .500 mark and was just its third win in the ACC this season. UM travels to Virginia Tech on Saturday.