No. 24 Florida State rebounded from a loss in its ACC opener Wednesday night with a thrilling 81-80 upset of No. 12 North Carolina at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Down 81-77 with under a minute to go, North Carolina guard Theo Pinson stole the ball and found wide open fellow guard Joel Berry, who drilled a 3-pointer with 29.8 seconds left to pull the Tar Heels to within one point, 81-80.
North Carolina then fouled and sent Florida State forward Phil Cofer to the line, where he missed both shots to set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Berry drove down the lane but missed his one-handed floater with 1.7 seconds left and Seminoles guard Terance Mann grabbed the rebound. Mann, however, also missed both free throws, allowing the Tar Heels one last gasp with 1.5 seconds on the clock.
But Tar Heels guard Kenny Williams’ desperation heave from half court was off the mark.
The win not only evened the Seminoles’ ACC record at 1-1 and snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Tar Heels, but it extended the nation’s third-longest home winning streak to 28 straight games. Only Cincinnati (34 games) and SMU (33 games) have longer home win streaks.
Florida State (12-2 overall, 1-1 in the ACC) was led by guard Braian Angola’s 20 points and five rebounds. Fellow guard CJ Walker also had a big game, pouring in 18 points for the Seminoles. Walker and the Seminoles made 11 3-pointers in the victory, including a combined seven from deep by Angola and Walker.
North Carolina (12-3, 1-1) was led by Berry with a game-high 28 points, but it wasn’t quite enough.
After taking a comfortable 51-40 lead to halftime, the Seminoles came out flat in the second half and nearly gave this one away.
North Carolina roared back and tied the game at 58-58 at the 12:56 mark of the second half, but the Seminoles broke a 67-67 tie thanks to a 9-0 run and regained the edge, 76-67, with 7:10 left in the game on back-to-back and-ones and a 3-pointer by Walker.
The Seminoles had already drilled nine 3-pointers by halftime, including three from Angola, who was coming off a career-high 23 points in the Seminoles’ last game out — a 100-93 loss to No. 2 Duke.
North Carolina also got 18 points from Williams and 14 points from forward Luke Maye. Tar Heels forward Cameron Johnson added seven points and had a team-high eight rebounds in the loss.
Mann was the Seminoles’ only other double-figurer scorer with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Florida State’s last win against North Carolina before Wednesday came in 2012 in the ACC Championship Game.
The Seminoles continue their tough opening stretch to ACC play Saturday when it travels to face in-state rival and No. 15 Miami, which came into Wednesday with just one loss on the year.
North Carolina’s next game is also Saturday as the Tar Heels travel to face No. 8 Virginia.