Florida State’s last loss came on Dec. 29 at Clemson. The 10-point defeat, coupled with a two-week break due to COVID-19 protocol, allowed the Seminoles to re-evaluate and fine-tune their weaknesses.
The Seminoles certainly are rolling now, winning four straight games — three of them by double figures.
Sophomore Balsa Koprivica had 13 points and 10 rebounds — his first career double-double — as Florida State pulled away early and routed No. 20 Clemson 80-61 on Saturday.
Junior-college transfer Sardaar Calhoun added a season-best 13 points for Florida State (9-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Calhoun made 4 of 5 3-pointers.
“We’re better than what we were playing before,” said junior forward RaiQuan Gray, who had 11 points. “We feel that we’re the best team in the country and we want to go out each night and prove it. Just marking everybody off the list. Next up. That’s our mentality going forward.”
John Newman III scored 12 points for Clemson (9-4, 3-4), which has dropped three straight games.
Florida State used a 15-2 run early in the first half to take a commanding 24-9 lead with 9:16 until halftime. The Seminoles prevented dribble drives, a big factor in Clemson’s win over them in December, and cruised to a 42-24 lead at the half.
“I think just in general we’ve been working a lot on helpside defense,” said Koprivica, a 7-foot-1 sophomore center. “That was one of our weaknesses. It’s starting to show a little bit more each and every game.”
In the first half, Clemson had more turnovers (seven) than made shots (4 of 24). The Tigers were 14 of 16 (87.5 percent) from the free-throw line, helping to keep them in the game early before the Seminoles poured it on in the second half. Florida State led by as many as 38, 69-31, with 11:20 left in the game.
Clemson shot 17 of 56 (30.4 percent) from the floor and just 5 of 30 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range. The Tigers have dropped three straight games — to Virginia, at Georgia Tech and at Florida State — all by double figures.
“Obviously we got to get this fixed,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I think there’s guys in this locker room that care enough to do it. … We haven’t played very well and those teams have made us pay. We’ve lost a little confidence.”
Florida State shot 29 of 60 (48.3 percent) from the floor and 12 of 28 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range. The Seminoles were forced to postpone a few games and did not play for two weeks but the Seminoles returned to the court on Jan. 13 and have gone 4-0, taking wins over NC State, North Carolina, at Louisville and Clemson.
M.J. Walker scored 10 points but left the game due to injury. He did not return for precautionary reasons. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game that Walker “appears that he was ok in the locker room” but had not spoken to the team doctor yet. Anthony Polite will miss 1-2 weeks with what was described as a shoulder strain by Hamilton.
Florida State showed off its depth as 11 players scored, avenging a 77-67 loss at Clemson on Dec. 29. The Seminoles have not lost to Clemson in Tallahassee since Feb. 4, 2015.
Florida State will play host to Miami on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (ACC Network).
Click here for the full box score in PDF format.
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