Barclays Center—Florida State hasn’t been playing its best brand of basketball of late, so going against the Orange in the ACC round was just a tall task for the Seminoles men’s basketball team.
Cole Swider scored 28 points and collected 13 boards, Joe Girard chipped 16 points and No. 9 seed Syracuse (16-16) beat eighth-seeded Florida State (17-14) 96-57 on Wednesday in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Barclays Center.
Florida State missed eight straight shots halfway through the first half and was 12-of-38 shooting at the break, including 1 of 13 from downtown. The Seminoles made just one of their first 15 shots of the second half — including 10 straight misses and that was the difference in the contest.
The Orange began the game sizzling hot and shot the ball well throughout the contest. Cuse led the game 49-26 at the break, shooting .531 percent from the hardwood and making seven of 15 3-point field goals. Swider pumped in 20 first-half points and nine rebounds. The Orange made three straight 3-pointers during the run, with Girard getting into the action.
Syracuse, one of the top three-point shooting teams in the ACC Conference, shot a dismal .393 percent from beyond the arc and .514 percent from the field for the contest. The Seminoles held the Orange to just four treys in the second half.
Seminole freshman and ACC Sixth Man of the Year Matthew Cleveland led Florida State with 13 points. Senior Anthony Polite grabbed down a team-high seven boards.
The Seminoles had seven blocks with five steals but couldn’t keep Cuse of the glass consistently. With a 4.9 bpg average and an 8.5 spg average, FSU was the only team in the ACC that is ranked in the top five for both steals and blocked shots, coming in second for both statistics.
The Seminoles starters had just 16 combined points through the opening 29 minutes of the half as the Seminoles trailed 70-35. Syracuse just overpowered FSU on the blocks scoring fifty points down low.
Redshirt senior Tanor Ngom scored nine points for the Seminoles while Polite contributed eight points. Nine of Cleveland’s 13 points came in the second half.
Syracuse led 81-41 on a Jimmy Boeheim rim rocker dunk, off an assist from Buddy Boeheim, with 7:32 left in the contest.
Jimmy Boeheim scored 12 for Syracuse which claimed its second-largest margin of victory in a conference tournament game in program history.
The Orange advances to play top-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals on Thursday. But Syracuse, which lost both meetings against No. 7 Duke this season by 20-plus points, will be without leading scorer Buddy Boeheim after the ACC announced a one-game suspension for punching Florida State’s Wyatt Wilkes in the stomach during the first half. No foul was called on the play and Boeheim went on to score 14 points.