Florida State made a late push. And had enough in the tank to defeat a worn-down Miami in overtime.
Devin Vassell scored a career-high 23 points, M.J. Walker added 19 points and and Trent Forrest had 12 points as No. 9 FSU showed its grit with a 83-79 victory in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Coral Gables. It was the Seminoles’ ninth straight win.
Vassell had a well-rounded stat line: the sophomore guard was 9 of 16 from the floor and added 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Walker made four 3-pointers, continuing his hot stretch from beyond the arc in January. Forrest added five assists.
The Seminoles (16-2, 6-1 ACC) won its sixth straight ACC game in part due to (what else?) defense. FSU forced 24 turnovers in 45 minutes.
Miami’s Chris Lykes, a 5-7 guard, drained 6 of 9 3-pointers and scored 24 points. The Hurricanes fell to 10-7, 2-5. Dejan Vasiljevic added 19 points – including four 3s. Miami made 11 of 24 3-pointers.
But a big difference was FSU’s defense and the Seminoles’ success at the free-throw line. FSU shot 15 of 18 (83.3 percent) from the line while Miami was just 10 of 17 (58.8 percent).
FSU closed with a 13-4 run in the final five minutes to force overtime at 69.
“I was very proud of the way our guys maintained their composure.,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “When Miami went up nine, I was probably the only one who was really concerned. Our players kept saying, ‘We can win this game.’”
Patrick Williams had four of FSU’s 10 blocks.
Anthony Polite scored 10 points off the bench for the Seminoles, who shot 29 of 69 (42 percent).
Next up: FSU will play host to Notre Dame on Jan. 25 at 8 p.m.