Bacon scores 20 to lead Florida State over N.C. State 77-73
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) With Florida State holding on to a two-point lead late in Monday's game against North Carolina State, coach Leonard Hamilton had one message to his team during a timeout - get the ball in the hands of Dwayne Bacon.
The freshman made the most of his coach's trust, making a 16-footer with 15 seconds remaining as the Seminoles held on for a 77-73 win.
After starting with three straight losses in conference play, Florida State (15-7, 5-5 ACC) has won three straight and five of its last seven.
''It is a shot I am most comfortable,'' said the 6-foot-7 guard, who led the Seminoles with 20 points. ''I was told to sit in the middle and find a soft spot. (Devon) Bookert drew the defense to him and then he threw it to me and I hit it. I wanted it but I didn't mind who took it.''
Bacon, who was named the ACC Rookie of the Week earlier Monday, was 16 of 32 from the field and has two straight games of 20 points or more. In his first eight ACC games, he averaged 13.4 points and was hitting 36.4 percent from the field.
''That says a lot about his ability and where he has grown,'' said Hamilton of Bacon. ''He did exactly what we wanted him to do.''
The Seminoles were able to hold off a 31-point effort from N.C. State's Anthony ''Cat'' Barber. The 6-foot-2 junior, who leads the conference in scoring, had 19 points in the second half and got the Wolfpack within a basket on a couple occasions but they were unable to tie. It was Barber's third straight game of 30 points or more and his league-leading sixth of the season.
Florida State led 38-26 at halftime and was up by 11 six minutes into the second half when the Wolfpack started clawing back.
They went on an 11-2 run to get within 58-56 with 10:28 remaining. After an Abdul-Malik Abu dunk pulled the Wolfpack within 65-63, the Seminoles ran off eight straight points, including four by Bacon. Barber scored eight straight points to make it 73-71.
After shooting 35.7 percent from the field in the first half, N.C. State (12-11, 2-8) was 17 of 29 and committed only two turnovers.
''Bacon made a couple tough shots but our guys responded in the second half,'' Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. ''In the first half, their pressure and trapping got to us and we didn't handle it very well. We were out of synch and rhythm. We ended up a play short.''
Malik Beasley added 15 points for Florida State while Boris Bojanovsky had eight points and nine rebounds. Caleb Martin added 14 points and six rebounds, Abu 12 points and Cody Martin 10 for N.C. State.
N.C. State: Barber had made 36 consecutive free throws before a miss late in the first half. It was his first miss since Jan. 10 against Wake Forest. ... Cody Martin, who was 5 of 9 from the field, is hitting 57.4 percent of his shots in conference play.
Florida State: Bacon is the first Seminoles' player to be named ACC Rookie of the Week four times. Coming into the season, Michael Joiner had the school record when he won it three times in 2000-01. Bacon and Beasley have combined to win it six times this season. ... Beasley has scored in double figures in his first 22 games, which is the fifth longest streak in ACC history for a player opening his career. Georgia Tech's Stephon Marbury has the record with 26 in 1996.
Over the past three games, Florida State has 21 blocks and 24 steals while holding opponents to a 41.6 shooting percentage from the field (74 of 178). In the first seven conference games, the Seminoles had 31 blocks.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
''I think Cat is playing as good as any point guard in the country. We're now 10 games into the league and despite our record you have to consider him for ACC Player of the Year. Doing everything we have asked of him.'' - Gottfried on Barber
N.C. State is at Duke on Saturday.
Florida State travels to Wake Forest on Saturday.
Follow Joe Reedy at twitter.com/joereedy. His work can be found at http://collegebasketball.ap.org/journalist/joe-reedy