Raleigh, N.C. • Ian Miller scored 17 points to lead No. 20 Florida State past North Carolina State 76-62 on Saturday.
Bernard James had 12 points while Okaro White and Michael Snaer each finished with 10 for the Seminoles (19-7, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They never trailed, shot 49 percent, led by double figures for the entire second half, held N.C. State to 29 percent shooting — its worst of the season, by far — and forced 17 turnovers.
That helped Florida State win its third straight, remain atop the league standings and improve to 4-0 against the Tobacco Road schools in North Carolina — the first time it has beaten all four in the same season.
C.J. Leslie scored 21 points to lead the Wolfpack (18-9, 7-5), but the rest of the team combined to shoot 9 of 44 in their second straight loss.
The Seminoles, who haven’t lost in Raleigh since 2006, have their defense largely to thank for their latest win here.
They entered allowing teams to shoot just 37 percent — second-best in the ACC — and clamped down on an N.C. State team that makes nearly 47 percent of its shots. Much of the Wolfpack’s offense came from the free throw line, where they were 25 of 31.
Florida State outscored N.C. State 18-9 during an 8½-minute stretch of the second half, with White’s tip-in with 10 minutes to play making it a 20-point game for the first time at 57-37.
The Wolfpack cut it to 12 three times, the last on Leslie’s free throw with 4:25 left. Florida State then re-established its comfortable lead by reeling off seven quick points, with Miller’s layup making it 70-51 with 3½ minutes to play.
Lorenzo Brown had 12 points and Richard Howell added 11 rebounds for N.C. State. Leading scorer Scott Wood, who averages 13.2 points, finished with eight and hit his only field goal with about 6 minutes left. The Wolfpack hadn’t shot worse than 36.8 percent this season, against No. 8 North Carolina.
This game matched two teams that were on the opposite ends of comebacks last time out. Florida State rallied from 15 points down with 15 minutes left to beat Virginia Tech on Thursday night, a few hours before the Wolfpack took a 20-point lead with 11½ minutes left against No. 5 Duke, only to allow the Blue Devils to storm back for a 78-73 win.
It also marked the midpoint of a brutal stretch for N.C. State, which in a six-day span was playing all three teams that shared the ACC lead. The Wolfpack host the Tar Heels on Tuesday night.
The Seminoles appeared content to let Leslie do his thing and lock down on everyone else. Leslie hit five of his eight shots in the first half for 12 points — but the rest of the Wolfpack was a combined 1 of 21 in the half.
Ian Miller’s 3 with 8 seconds left in the half put Florida State up by double figures for good, making it 37-26 at the break.
Further adding to N.C. State’s woes, ex-players Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani — whose jersey numbers hang in the RBC Center’s rafters — were ejected from behind the scorer’s table with about 6½ minutes left by official Karl Hess.
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