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January 21, 2009

Canes heat up knock down Noles

Florida State's Toney Douglas and Miami's Jack McClinton played like two of the nation's top senior guards Wednesday night at the BankUnited Center, but the Hurricanes' prevailed on the strength of a better supporting cast.

Uncontested baskets by Adrian Thomas and Lance Hurdle in the final 90 seconds against the Seminoles' press enabled the Hurricanes (14-4, 3-2 ACC) to hang on for a 75-69 victory.

Douglas got the best of the individual battle against McClinton with a season-high 30 points, highlighted by 21 in the second half. McClinton finished with 28 - 19 after the break - as the Hurricanes snapped a five-game losing streak against the Seminoles (15-4, 2-2).

In a virtually even game statistically, McClinton received more support. Hurdle came through with a season-high 16 points - 14 in the second half - while Dwayne Collins and Thomas added 10 each.

Solomon Alabi, who scored six points early before picking up his second foul, finished with 10 as FSU's only other double-figure scorer.

Miami outscored FSU 17-10 from the free throw line, which loomed decisive on a night when the 'Noles managed to out-rebound the nation's third-rated team on the boards, 35-32.

Florida State got off to a strong start and led 20-8 midway through the first half before Miami began to heat up. The Hurricanes closed the half on a 22-9 run. McClinton's jumper from the left wing sent Miami into the locker room in front, 30-29.

"I think we took some quick shots., that led to long rebounds," Douglas said. "They got a lot of transition buckets leading into the half and they were up one."

The Hurricanes' ability to speed up the game, coupled with FSU's porous second half defensive effort, proved too much for Leonard Hamilton's squad to overcome. Miami converted on 49 percent of its field goal attempts, the highest by an FSU opponent this season.

McClinton and Hurdle, who were 1-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, converted 5-of-6 second half attempts.

The sixth of Douglas' career-high matching seven 3-pointers on the night had the Seminoles within 58-57 with just over four minutes remaining. McClinton answered with one of his own. Two James Dews free throws and a Thomas 3-pointer with 2:39 remaining enabled Miami to open up its largest lead of the night, 66-58.

Douglas, who scored the Seminoles' final 11 points, kept his team in the game with a three-point play and a 3-pointer.

"I feel like I was in a zone and found my stroke tonight," Douglas said. "If I'm feeling it, my coach believes in me and my teammates believe in me. I'm going to do what I have to do to win."

Twice Douglas pulled FSU within three, but Hurdle answered the first time with a dunk as the 'Canes threw over top the Seminoles' press. McClinton countered a Douglas layup with a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining for a 74-69 lead that proved to be just enough.

"We had mental breakdowns and that adds up," Douglas said afterward. "It's really difficult to win on the road when you do that."

The Seminoles won't have to wait long to make amends as they visit Virginia on Saturday.


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