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Syracuse rallies, stuns FSU on buzzer beater

The Seminoles’ struggles away from Tallahassee continued despite an impressive start on Friday afternoon.

Florida State’s early lead gradually faded and Kamilla Cardoso’s layup off a missed 3-pointer was the difference, as Syracuse escaped with a 68-67 victory in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, N.C.

FSU led 22-8 after the first period. But the Seminoles shot 6 of 18 in the third period and 5 of 13 in the fourth period.

“We had a really, really strong start, so that helped us,” FSU interim head coach Brooke Wyckoff said. “But we lost every other quarter. … It had to be done on the defensive end, and we just couldn’t get it done defensively in terms of stopping them around the rim, and then they hit a couple key three-pointers when they needed to.”

Bianca Jackson scored 25 points on 10 of 17 shooting and added seven assists for FSU (10-8). The Seminoles will now await the NCAA Tournament selection show on March 15 but as one of the top four teams in the ACC are almost certainly in the field.

Cardoso had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Syracuse controlled the rebounding, pulling down 17 offensive boards and having an overall edge in rebounds 41-32.

“I feel like we lost the lead because we didn’t have as much intensity as we needed to, to sustain the lead,” Jackson said. “We lost focus and we didn’t execute the game plan down the stretch.”

FSU shot just 10 of 17 (58.8 percent) from the free-throw line. Morgan Jones had five points and was just 1 of 6 from the free-throw line.

Savannah Wilkinson had eight points and six rebounds, while Kourtney Weber had eight points and three rebounds for FSU.

The Seminoles shot 26 of 59 (44.1 percent) and 5 of 13 (38.5 percent) from 3-point range.

FSU returns home for a long break and will practice ahead in the coming week as they await the bracket reveal for the NCAA Tournament’s bubble in San Antonio.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to rally together as a team and to stay together,” Wyckoff said. “It’s really, really disappointing. These players battled and left their hearts on the floor. It was a growth opportunity, another opportunity to play on the big stage and understand what tournament basketball is all about. So we know that no lead is ever safe. You’ve got to defend. You’ve got to finish plays with rebounds if you’re going to win in March.”