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Miami holds on to defeat Florida State

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After game after game of heartbreaks this season the Miami Hurricanes finally found themselves on the dealing end of it Monday night against instate rival Florida State.

The Hurricanes fought with a sense of desperation from the opening tip and never trailed en route to a much-needed 77-73 win over the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Jim Larrañaga started a lineup of all seniors that was led by Donnavan Kirk, who scored a team-high 16 points on six of seven shooting from the field.

Miami (12-12, 3-8) made five 3-pointers in the first half and built a 12-point lead thanks to 11 first half points from Kirk. Florida State (14-10, 5-7 ACC) made a late half run when Ian Miller scored eight of the Seminoles final 10 points to cut the deficit to just five in the waning seconds of the first half. However, just when it looked as if Florida State was about to take all momentum into halftime, Adams nailed Miami’s fifth three of the half to give the Hurricanes a 34-26 lead at the break.

The Hurricanes extended that lead to 13 with a 5-0 start to the second half thanks to 3-pointer by Kirk and two free throws by Garrius Adams. The Seminoles responded once again though with an 18-8 run and Aaron Thomas made a jump shot to cut Miami’s lead to 47-44 with 7:47 remaining.

But Miami continued to have an answer all night.

After an exchange of free throws, Adams made another 3-pointer and Miami built its lead back to nine, never allowing Florida State to get closer than four points the rest of the way. After missing 28 free throws combined in their previous two losses to Pittsburgh and NC State, the Hurricanes made 24 of 33 from the line, including seven straight in the final 40 seconds to close out the Seminoles.

Miami’s offense featured a balanced attack that saw four starters score in double figures. Tonye Jekiri also scored 15, Rion Brown added 14, and Garrius Adams poured in 12 to give the Hurricanes their highest point total in ACC play this season.

Florida State shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded Miami by five but turned the ball over 11 times in a sloppy effort. The Seminoles have now dropped five of their last six games and their tournament hopes could be fading rather quickly.

Thomas led the Seminoles with 16 points, Okaro White scored 14 and Boris Bojanovsky and Miller each finished with 13.

It was just Miami’s third ACC win but it pulled the Hurricanes back up to the .500 mark overall for the season. Miami will travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech next on Saturday.

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