Saturday’s Florida State-Oklahoma State game was not a good one for winning streaks … or homecomings.
The Cowboys (8-2) upset the 19th-ranked Seminoles 71-70 in the first game of the annual Orange Bowl Classic at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
FSU dropped to 9-1, falling one win short of what would have been the best 10-game start in Seminoles history. The loss left just four undefeated teams in the nation — including the Miami Hurricanes.
As for the homecoming that wasn’t, Zach Dawson, a 6-3 point guard who led South Miami High to the state semifinals in each of the past two seasons, was dismissed from the OSU team this week, spoiling what would’ve been a happy occasion.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
OSU rookie head coach Mike Boynton said Dawson failed to meet unspecified standards.
Boynton, who also dismissed junior guard Davon Dillard, was asked about Dawson, the hometown guy.
“I feel awful that it didn’t work out for him,” Boynton said. “I was a part of recruiting that kid. I got to know him and his family very well, and it’s an unfortunate situation.
“[But] it’s an opportunity for him to learn and grow and be better in his next opportunity.”
Could Dawson come home, transferring to Miami or FIU?
That’s a possibility, and South Miami coach Robert Doctor, contacted by phone on Saturday, said there’s been a lot of interest from coaches throughout the country.
As for Saturday’s game, it came down to a pair of big plays in the final six seconds made by OSU’s Mitchell Solomon, a 6-9, 245-pound junior forward who produced 12 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals.
FSU went up by one point on a put-back by Terance Mann with 10 seconds left. But OSU grabbed the lead back on a put-back by Solomon with six seconds left.
“We had two or three opportunities to grab the defensive rebound,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “The ball was bouncing all over the place.
“Their guy [Solomon] did a great job. He was wedged in there. He just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Had the ball come off on the other side, our guy was standing there.”
After that put-back, FSU still had one more chance as sophomore guard CJ Walker tried to dribble the length of the court for a layup.
Unfortunately for FSU, Solomon stepped up in the lane and drew the charge, effectively ending the game.
“We played solid man defense, and I was able to draw the charge,” Solomon said. “[OSU’s Tavarius Shine] funneled his man [Walker] right to me.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ South Miami was supposed to have two players on the OSU roster. The other player is forward Latravian Glover, who signed with OSU last year but backed out after the Cowboys had a coaching change. Coach Brad Underwood, after just one season at OSU, took over at Illinois, and Glover is now playing for the University of the Virgin Islands.
▪ FSU has one South Floridian on its roster — 6-8 freshman forward Raiquan Gray of Fort Lauderdale Dillard — but he didn’t play.
▪ OSU gave FSU’s Leonard Hamilton his start as a head coach in 1986. Current Kansas coach Bill Self was on Hamilton’s staff at OSU. After OSU, Hamilton was hired by Miami in 1990.
▪ Due to final exams, FSU hadn’t played since December 10. FSU plays Charleston Southern on Monday and Southern Miss on Thursday before opening its ACC schedule December 30 at Duke.