Florida State 73, Clemson 69

Tigers’ rally vs. Seminoles too late

jjones@charlotteobserver.comMarch 15, 2013 

— North Carolina and Florida State will pick up the 2013 ACC tournament where it left off in last year’s tournament.

The No. 3-seeded Tar Heels will take on the Seminoles in Friday’s quarterfinals after Florida State topped Clemson 73-69 Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum.

The No. 6-seeded Seminoles, defending ACC tournament champs, took control during the latter part of the second half, taking it to the Clemson post players who were hamstrung by foul trouble, to come back from a halftime deficit.

Clemson drew within two points during the final 12 seconds on a Devin Booker 3-pointer, but it proved to not be enough after a couple of Michael Snaer free throws sealed the victory.

The Tigers (13-18), who lost both regular-season contests against the Seminoles (18-14) by a combined eight points, led by as many as 10 points during the first half. At one point they were 66.7 percent from the field, but that cooled to 44.8 by halftime.

K.J. McDaniels led Clemson with 10 points with 4-for-6 shooting during the first half. The highlight of his evening came with four minutes remaining in the half when he leaped over a 7-foot-3 Florida State player to put back a Booker miss.

Starting power forward Milton Jennings played just seven first-half minutes with two fouls. He was rendered ineffective in his short time on the floor, going 1-for-3 for two points and two rebounds.

Florida State would close the gap, going 9-for-12 from the line and shooting 52.6 percent from the field.

The Seminoles fed the ball inside, and Okaro White led the Seminoles with seven points at halftime.

But Clemson would be bitten by the foul bug early in the second half. Jennings picked up his third before the first media timeout after McDaniels had done the same.

Less than 30 seconds after the media timeout, Booker got his third, but coach Brad Brownell decided to keep Jennings and Booker in the game.

White started the second half on a roll. He converted back-to-back baskets with foul shots, with the second a tough tip-in over Rod Hall.

That gave Florida State its first lead since the first minute of the game at 40-38.

Clemson went nearly six minutes without a basket early in the second half before Damarcus Harrison’s runner in the lane with 10 minutes, 42 seconds left. McDaniels followed that with a dunk and the foul and Clemson was back on top at 44-43.

The whistles came early and often during the second half. And with more than seven minutes remaining, either team’s next foul would put the other in the double bonus. Four Tigers and three Seminoles had at least three fouls with 7:23 to play.

If Florida State wasn’t getting production from White, it turned to forward Terrance Shannon. He attacked the rim with the Tigers’ post players struggling with foul trouble and turned in an eight-point, second-half performance.

A White 3-pointer with less than five minutes left gave Florida State its largest lead at 60-49, a margin from which the Tigers could not recover.

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