Florida State came through with a rally that was sparked by defense.
The Seminoles had 10 blocks and 13 steals, a number of them late as they created turnovers with a stifling full-court press as Florida State stormed back to defeat South Florida 66-60 on Saturday afternoon at Sunrise.
RaiQuan Gray, Trent Forrest, MJ Walker and Anthony Polite had 11 points apiece for FSU, which used a 15-1 run over a five-minute span late in the game.
The Seminoles forced 24 turnovers, including 15 in the second half.
“When we went down 10, I thought we became more aggressive,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Our aggressiveness generated some easy baskets off turnovers.”
Devin Vassell’s jumper put FSU ahead for good, 60-58, and allowed the Seminoles (10-2) to sneak out a win courtesy of defense on a day in which they struggled to make shots consistently early but finished 48.1 percent from the floor in the second half.
Michael Durr had 15 points and seven rebounds for USF (6-5).
Gray, a Fort Lauderdale native, played well in front of his hometown fans. He was 4 of 10 from the floor with seven rebounds and three steals.
FSU was just 2 of 14 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 7 of 27 (25.9 percent) from beyond the arc. For the game, FSU shot 22 of 55 (40 percent) from the floor.
The Seminoles now has a week off for the holidays before playing host to North Alabama on Dec. 28.