TALLAHASEE, Fla. — Birmingham, Ala. native K.J. McDaniels had his mom, grandmother, brother, sister, aunt and a handful of cousins travel to Florida State to see him and Clemson face the Seminoles on Saturday. That, in addition to a five-game losing streak to Florida State, provided all the motivation the ACC’s 10th leading scorer needed.
McDaniels put up 26 points as Clemson defeated Florida State 53-49. He was one point shy of a career high as McDaniels’ family drowned out most of the Florida State crowd throughout the second half.
“Florida State, they’re a great defensive team, they’re a long team,” McDaniels said. “I just had to find those open spots to get to and try to wedge my way through there.
“My shoot-around this morning was great. I felt like I had the right energy and I had so much confidence. I’ve always had good games in here. I like Florida State. I like their court. Just going out there being aggressive and playing as hard as I can for my team.”
The Tigers (14-6, 5-3) survived a slow-moving defensive battle in which both teams failed to shoot 40 percent from the floor most of the game. The Seminoles led 20-17 at halftime, but an 11-2 run midway through the second half gave Clemson a 40-32 lead that it never gave up.
Jeron Blossomgame scored 10 points and Jordan Roper added eight for the Tigers. McDaniels’ three 3-pointers tied the second-most he’s hit all season.
“KJ was unbelievable tonight,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “He played at an exceptionally high level. I’m hoping that people in this league take notice of that.
“He’s our best player. We try to put the ball in his hands to make plays.”
The Tigers finished shooting 43.2 percent from the floor after shooting 28.6 percent in the first half. They broke a two-game losing streak.
Florida State (13-8, 4-5) dropped its third consecutive game as Okaro White was held to nine points. Ian Miller, who entered the game as the Seminoles’ leading scorer, suffered a sprained ankle in the first half and did not return. Aaron Thomas scored a team-high 13 points while Florida State shot just 34 percent (16 of 47) from the floor.
Maryland 80, Virginia Tech 60: Maryland guard Dez Wells and three of his teammates were late for his team’s breakfast shortly before the Terrapins game at Virginia Tech, and Maryland coach Kevin Turgeon decided not to start Wells.
The Hokies wished that Turgeon had not played him at all. Coming off the bench for just the second time since transferring to Maryland in 2012, Wells scored 19 points to lead the Terrapins.
“Late is late,” Wells said, refusing to say how late he was. “Regardless of if it’s a minute or 30 minutes. I take responsibility for what happened, and it’s time to move on.”
“I thought Dez handled it really well,” Turgeon said.
Turgeon inserted Wells into the game after 56 seconds had elapsed, and the junior guard went on to make 6 of 9 from the floor for Maryland (13-9, 5-4 ACC), which shot 51.8 percent (29-for-56) in winning its second in a row and beating the Hokies for the fourth-straight time.
The Terps did nearly everything right, hitting 8 of 15 from beyond the 3-point arc and out-rebounding the Hokies 38-29. Maryland turned the ball over just nine times and had 15 assists, all of which left one to wonder how this team has lost nine games this season.
Notre Dame 76, Boston College 73: Eric Atkins hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left in overtime after missing a potential game-winning free throw in regulation to lift host Notre Dame, ending a three-game losing streak for the Irish.
The Eagles led most of the way and Ryan Anderson scored four straight points for Boston College to tie the score at 73 with 35 seconds left, but Atkins took the inbounds pass and drove the ball up the court and hit the game-winner to finish with 24 points.
The Irish (12-10, 3-6) won for just the second time in their last eight games. Boston College (6-15, 2-6) fell to 1-7 on the road.
Both teams squandered chances to win in regulation. The Eagles had a chance to open a three-point lead with 7 seconds left, but Olivier Hanlan missed the front end of a one-and-one, ending a streak of 13 straight made free throws by the Eagles. Atkins then drove the length of the court and appeared to lose control of the ball, but Hanlan was called for the foul with 0.7 seconds left. Atkins tied the game with his first free, throw, but missed the second.
Atkins scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Irish to the victory. Pat Connaughton added 17 points and nine rebounds and Zach Auguste and V.J. Beachem finished with 10. Beachem scored all his points after intermission, including a 3-pointer early in overtime that gave the Irish their first lead since the first half, as Irish reserves scored 15 points in the second half after being held scoreless in the first.
Anderson led Boston College with 21 points, Lonnie Jackson had 15 and Joe Rahon added 11.
Miami 64, Norfolk St. 49: Rion Brown scored 15 points as host Miami snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Hurricanes never trailed after a late first-half run that resulted in a 10-point lead at halftime.
Manu Lecomte scored 13 points and Garrius Adams finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Hurricanes (11-10). The win was Miami’s first since a 56-42 ACC victory at Georgia Tech on Jan. 18.
Three-pointers from Lecomte and Adams helped Miami on a 12-0 surge to start the second half that stretched its lead to 43-21. Tonye Jeriki’s jumper capped the run with 14:19 remaining.