Usually when Leonard Hamilton talks about "ACC blowouts," he's speaking tongue-in-cheek to describe a narrowly decided contest.
Sunday night against Boston College, he and his Florida State basketball team got to experience the real thing.
FSU used a stifling defensive effort in the second half to pull away for a 62-47 victory that moved the Seminoles back above .500 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. BC's 47 points mark the fewest that FSU has allowed in a conference game since joining the league in the 1991-92 season.
"Those types of victories are rare, and you have to enjoy them whenever they come," Hamilton said.
Derwin Kitchen had a slightly different assessment.
"It's a shocker," said Kitchen, who had seven points, two assists, and a steal. "Like Coach Ham says, he'll be joking around like it's a 'two-point blowout in the ACC' when we win by two because that's how it is in the ACC. It's always going to be a grind the whole game, and we won by 15. That's pretty impressive. That says a lot about this team when we focus."
BC's Joe Trapani knocked down 14 points in the first half, and the teams went into the break knotted at 30. But the Seminoles (18-7, 6-5 ACC) held the Eagles to just 17 points in the second half - four of which game with less than a minute to play - and only a lone 3-pointer from Trapani.
Boston College reached 43 points on a pair of free throws with 8:46 remaining in the game. They didn't score another point until Evan Ravenel hit a garbage-time layup with 39 seconds to play - a span of more than eight minutes during which the Seminoles went on a 12-0 run.
"Obviously our defense probably made the biggest difference in the game tonight," Hamilton said.
Solomon Alabi posted a career-high seven blocks, and Chris Singleton added five steals for an FSU defense that forced the Eagles (12-13, 3-8) to shoot just 33.3 percent from the field.
Freshman Michael Snaer, making his third career start in as many games, paced the Seminoles with 18 points, a total that matched his career-high.
"I saw a different look in his eye tonight. I thought that he showed his competitive spirit," Hamilton said. "He asked to come out of the game three or four times because he had expired himself, and that's the kind of effort you like to see your players giving … I didn't think he took any possessions off offensively and defensively."
With the win, Florida State followed its recent trend of alternating wins and losses. The Seminoles are 3-3 in their last six games, with each victory followed by a loss.
They'll get a chance to buck that trend Wednesday when they travel to Charlottesville, Va. to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.
"This was an important victory, and we've got enjoy it for a few moments," Hamilton said. "But the game at Virginia on Wednesday night will be just as important."