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Seminoles beat Hurricanes to extend road winning streak vs. Miami

CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes’ basketball team has achieved new heights over the previous two seasons, but one accomplishment still eludes them: beating rival Florida State at home.

The Seminoles (11-6, 5-1 ACC) came to the Watsco Center having won five straight games in Coral Gables, and they extended that streak to six with an 84-75 win over Miami (12-5, 3-3 ACC) on Wednesday night.

“It’s like a chess match, and Leonard (Hamilton) got me in checkmate,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said.

The Hurricanes struggled with the Seminoles in the first half, falling behind by 10 points as the first half came to an end. The deficit got wider early in the second half, as FSU went up 53-37 early in the second period.

“They’re playing really, really well, they pay together,” Miami guard Nijel Pack said. “(Darin) Green came out, made a couple of threes that got them going outside. They got into the paint; we knew that’s what they like to do, and they were able to get there. And then when they missed, they were able to clean it up, as well, so it was kind of clicking for everything for them.”

Miami fought back in the second half, going on an 8-0 run to cut into FSU’s lead and getting within two points of Florida State. But the Seminoles held off the Hurricanes’ advance and held onto their lead.

A Norchad Omier basket put Miami back within two points with five minutes left in the second half, but Florida State once again kept UM at bay.

“Pretty much, that whole first half, I would say we were on our heels, and then we turned into the aggressor,” Pack said. “That’s what changed the game for us.”

The Seminoles, who have won five straight games, dominated Miami in the paint, outscoring UM 52-34. FSU’s size advantage helped it beat Miami 41-35 on the boards, as well.

UM ended the game shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc, below their season averages of 49.2 percent and 40.7 percent, respectively.

“They executed their game plan very well, and we had a very hard time — at both ends of the court — executing our game plan,” Larrañaga said. “Why? Because, defensively, they disrupted us, and offensively, they’re just so tall.”

The Hurricanes also had an uncharacteristically poor night shooting from the free-throw line, making just 58.3 percent of their shots. They entered the game shooting nearly 79 percent on foul shots.

Nijel Pack led the Hurricanes with 19 points, while Omier and Wooga Poplar added 15 each. Omier also racked up 15 rebounds. Matthew Cleveland, facing off against his former team, scored two points.

“I’m going to worry too much about Matthew Cleveland,” Larrañaga said. “He’s having a great season. … I’m sure he’ll be fine.”