Florida Atlantic's Marquan Botley, right, drives to the basket as Florida State 's Benji Bell, left, defends in the first half of the NCAA college Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky
December 19, 2015

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The start of Florida State's game Saturday was delayed because the basket at one end was too low.

Then the Seminoles made it look too small.

Dwayne Bacon scored 23 points and Florida State overcame a slow start shooting at a defective hoop Saturday to rally past Florida Atlantic 64-59 in the Orange Bowl Classic.

The game started 40 minutes late because of a problem with the basket's height. Less than four minutes into the game, an attempted dunk by Florida State's Montay Brandon left the rim too low and at an angle, which caused a 15-minute delay.

Florida State shot 26 percent aiming at the troublesome hoop, and 50 percent at the other end in the second half.

''You can't blame the rim,'' Bacon said. ''I just kept telling the shooter that we have on our team to keep shooting, one is going to fall. You just have to keep shooting.''

The Seminoles (8-2) won their season-best fourth in a row. Florida Atlantic (2-9) has lost four consecutive games, all on the road.

''We are here to change this program around,'' Owls second-year coach Michael Curry said. ''Playing close is not going to be what FAU is about. But it also shows a lot of progress that we come out and play teams, especially on a neutral court. We are pleased with our guys' effort.''

Bacon went 9 for 15 and was chosen the game's most valuable player. He had four of the Seminoles' 10 steals, and their defensive pressure made the difference down the stretch.

The score was tied at 56 before Florida State took advantage of back-to-back steals to score twice in nine seconds. Malik Beasley hit a dunk on a breakaway, and Bacon made a steal on the inbound play and scored.

''We got stops, big-time stops,'' Bacon said.

Two baskets by Xavier Rathan-Mayes helped seal the victory for the Seminoles, who sank their final five shots.

''We made some adjustments at halftime, mentally and emotionally,'' coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Even so, the Seminoles' point total was a season low and 22 below their season average. They shot a season-worst 2 for 14 from 3-point range.

Beasley had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rathan-Mayes had 12 points, four assists and three steals.

Marquan Botley led the Owls with 13 points, and C.J. Turman had 10 points and 15 rebounds.

The game was played at the Florida Panthers' arena, where hockey is the primary sport and the baskets are seldom used. The Seminoles missed 11 of their first 12 attempts at the troublesome basket, with the only score coming because of goaltending.

Florida Atlanta shot 54 percent in the first half and 32 percent at the hoop that caused the two delays.

Florida State scored 11 consecutive points to tie the game at 44 on a 3-pointer by Rathan-Mayes. Beasley's three-point play gave the Seminoles their first lead at 47-45.



Florida Atlantic: The Owls fell to 0-5 against Florida State. The teams last met in 1997.

Florida State: Junior Jarquez Smith took a blow to the head midway through the second half and sat out the rest of the game.


Florida State plays host to Charleston Southern on Monday.

Florida Atlantic plays at Hofstra on Tuesday.

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