Bacon's improved 3-point shooting bolsters No. 15 Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dwayne Bacon's offseason work on his shooting mechanics is continuing to pay off for Florida State.
The sophomore leads the 15th-ranked Seminoles in 3-pointers with 39 - he made 32 all of last season. Bacon's improvement from the perimeter, where he has made 36.7 percent of his shots, is one reason why FSU (19-4, 7-3 ACC) has already equaled last year's overall and conference win totals.
''I definitely continue to have confidence in it because it has been successful all year,'' said Bacon, who is 10th in the conference in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
Bacon's perimeter shooting struggles was one of the reasons why he took his name out of consideration for the NBA draft last spring after only four days. The 6-foot-7 guard shot just 28.1 percent on 3-pointers last season.
Assistant coach Charlton Young said Bacon's form last season was similar to a dart thrower where he wasn't getting much arc on his shots. The biggest change they made was getting Bacon to shoot more upward and not outward.
Bacon said by the time the season opened, the new shooting style was second nature due to repetition.
''It feels like my natural shot and I have been able to stick with it. I have been very happy with the results,'' he said.
Instead of being able to beat teams by just driving to the basket, which has always been his strength, Bacon is showing he also can beat teams in other ways. Teams have been more aggressive defending Bacon, picking him up once he gets past midcourt.
''He has always had an X on his back going into every game,'' Young said. ''Teams like to load up the paint and force him to beat them from the perimeter. He's been able to hurt teams like that and that's from the work he put in over the summer.''
Bacon's overall field goal percentage remains at 44.7 percent, but coach Leonard Hamilton has been pleased with his guard's shot selection and ability to make the big shot when called upon. Bacon has three game-winning shots in his two seasons at FSU, including the game-winning, 3-pointer in a 60-58 win at then-No. 12 Virginia on Dec. 31. He had a career-high 29 points in that game, including six 3-pointers.
''The one thing that I noticed is they have played him a lot at the two guard spot,'' Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. ''He's always been able to drive it well but now he's shooting at a very good percentage from the perimeter that he has been a nightmare matchup for a lot of guards.''
Bacon goes into Sunday's game against Clemson with a 32-game streak where he has scored in double figures, which is also the longest current streak in the ACC. It is also the longest by a Florida State player since Toney Douglas did it in 33 straight games from 2007-08. Bacon is a long way from Dave Fedor's school record of 72, which occurred from 1960-62.
Florida State lost the first two games of a three-game road trip, but got some of its confidence back with a 75-57 win last Wednesday against Miami . The Seminoles have a 17-game winning streak at home.
FSU enters the weekend third in the ACC standings, which puts them in position to earn a double bye for the conference tournament.
''The Miami win was good to get us back on our feet. We've lost only four games the whole season which is big,'' Bacon said. ''Nobody thought we would have the record we would have today. We still have a lot ahead of us.''
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