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The Daily Tar Heel

FSU drops silver-clad Tar Heels

UNC freshman Leslie McDonald meets Florida State center Solomon Alabi in the paint. DTH/Will Cooper
UNC freshman Leslie McDonald meets Florida State center Solomon Alabi in the paint. DTH/Will Cooper

With forwards Ed Davis, Travis Wear and David Wear all sidelined due to injury, North Carolina was supposed to be vulnerable in the post against a Florida State team known for its size.

And while the Seminoles (20-7, 8-5 ACC) did outscore and outwork the Tar Heels in the painted area, it was from the perimeter where they put the game away.

FSU drilled 11 three-pointers, including nine in the first half, en route to bullying UNC (14-14, 3-10 ACC) out of its own building Wednesday night with a final score of 77-67.

“We felt like we didn’t do a good enough job of containing the ball. We had to get our second and third guys helping, which gave them some open looks on the perimeter,” senior Marcus Ginyard said. “We didn’t feel like they were a great shooting team, but when you get looks like that you’re going to shoot a great percentage.”

The Seminoles’ 11 triples were one short of their season-high, set against Texas A&M Corpus Cristi.

Before three minutes had elapsed on the game clock in the first half, they already had buried three from the three-point line, and guard Deividas Dulkys’ three-point jumper from the corner in the period’s final seconds buoyed Florida State to a 15-point advantage at the break.

On the continued strength of that hot shooting from behind the arc, as well as some highlight reel dunks on UNC defensive breakdowns, the FSU lead ballooned to as much as 23 in the second half.

The Tar Heels never could get within striking distance, even after Florida State finally cooled offensively in the game’s final 10 minutes.

“When it rains, it rains hard,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “Inability to get shots, didn’t rebound very well. We talked about we’ve got to do a great job rebounding the ball, and we didn’t do that. Just a magnitude of errors.”

UNC did cut it down to as few as nine points with 29 seconds to play on a Deon Thompson tip-in, but the rally was too little, too late for a result that was never in doubt after the game’s opening minutes.

“I liked the effort in the second half, but we put ourselves in too deep of a hole,” freshman John Henson said. “It’s simple. That’s how it turned out.”

Junior Will Graves and Henson were the only UNC players to show much of an offensive pulse, pouring in a combined 33 points.

No one else on North Carolina reached double figures, and UNC had more turnovers (14) than assists (13) for the third straight game — all losses.

The three-point line was far from the only area in which the Seminoles dominated the Tar Heels.

The Seminoles scored 32 points in the paint to UNC’s 24, outrebounded the Tar Heels 36-31, and racked up 20 assists to North Carolina’s 13.

The loss was just the latest setback in a prolonged tailspin in conference play for UNC. North Carolina has lost seven of its last eight games and now is in danger of missing the NIT, let alone the NCAA Tournament.

A loss against Wake Forest this Saturday would dip UNC’s record below .500.

“It hits me every day I look at SportsCenter and North Carolina is a topic of discussion, because they’re not used to this and this is a big deal,” Henson said. “It’s tough but it just makes you want to work harder and makes you more hungry.”

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