Beasley scores 20 to lead Florida St. over Syracuse
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) On a day when Florida State honored its seniors, it was a pair of freshmen who came up big.
Malik Beasley scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half while Dwayne Bacon added 16 points and eight rebounds as the Seminoles held off Syracuse 78-73 Saturday at the Tucker Center.
''After the first 3, it was nice to get my confidence back . Once I saw the ball go in, it was a huge confidence booster for me and the team,'' said Beasley, who had his 10th 20-point game of the season.
Beasley, who scored in double figures in his first 24 games, was averaging just 8.6 points while shooting 33 percent from the field in his past five games. But with Florida State trailing 35-31 at halftime, the 6-foot-5 guard triggered an 11-2 run to begin the second half with three straight 3s.
''The fact that Malik hit two or three shots, it gave them an area of the floor that they had to cover,'' Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. ''It did open up an opportunity for us to get the ball into the free-throw line a little more, it kind of played off each other.''
Bacon, who was 3 of 10 from the field in an 85-72 loss to the Orange on Feb. 11, was 5 of 13 as he hit a couple midrange jumpers to soften Syracuse's 2-3 zone. But he was also successful driving the lane and getting to the line as he made all six of his free throws.
Over the past four games, the 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 17.8 points and 6.3 rebounds.
''A lot of times I was able to sit in the middle of the zone where I was able to look to shoot or kick it out,'' Bacon said.
After dropping five straight, Florida State (18-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) goes into the conference tournament with a two-game winning streak. However with Georgia Tech's win over Pittsburgh, the Seminoles are the 11th seed and will play in the first round on Tuesday.
Syracuse (19-12, 9-9) was 3 of 15 from beyond the arc in the second half and 8 of 26 for the game, which coach Jim Boeheim said was a huge factor in why his team has dropped four of its last five. The Orange will be the ninth seed in the conference tournament.
''The second half, our offense wasn't quite as good. We got some good looks at the 3-point line. In the first half, we made those shots, second half we didn't. And they got control of the game,'' he said. ''The first half, our defense was good. The second half, we didn't do a good job on the boards and that hurt us.''
Michael Gbinije led Syracuse with 21 points while Tyler Lydon added 16 and Malachi Richardson 15.
The Seminoles led by 10 with 2:22 remaining before the Orange scored seven straight points to get within 71-68 with 1:21 remaining.
A Gbinije layup and free throw put Syracuse within two (75-73) with 32 seconds remaining. After a time out, Gbinije fouled out and Xavier Rathan-Mayes made one of two free throws to give the Orange one last chance. Trevor Cooney missed a 3-pointer as Terance Mann got the rebound and found Rathan-Mayes, who also had 16 points, for an open layup.
After missing 11 of its first 12 from the field, Florida State went 27 of 47 the rest of the game. ... Syracuse had a season-low five offensive rebounds. The previous low was six in a Feb. 20 loss to Pittsburgh. ... The Seminoles tied a season high with 19 turnovers. They also had 19 in a Dec. 6 win over Virginia Commonwealth.
Syracuse: Cooney, who came into the game 10th in the 3-point percentage in conference games (33.9 percent), was 2 of 10 from beyond the arc and is 5 of 30 over the past four games.
Florida State: Montay Brandon set a school record with his 118th start. The senior forward has started all but 13 of the 131 games he has played at Florida State. Okaro White had the previous mark with 117 starts from 2011-14. Brandon, Boris Bojanovsky, Devon Bookert and Michael Saxton were starters on Senior Day.
Syracuse will meet Pittsburgh in the second round of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
Florida State will face Boston College in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Tuesday.
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