basketball Edit

Passing marks but not enough 3s as Syracuse responds to defeat FSU

Naheem McLeod scored a season-high 16 points on Wednesday.
Naheem McLeod scored a season-high 16 points on Wednesday. (Mike Olivella)

Syracuse’s late 16-2 run ruined an improved effort from Florida State, which displayed crisp passing in the half court in the middle of the game.

FSU made the extra pass. But the Seminoles often could not make the 3-pointers to break Syracuse’s 2-3 zone.

Matthew Cleveland had his 11th double-double of the season — 19 points and 11 rebounds — and Naheem McLeod poured in a season-high 16 points but Syracuse pulled away late with a 76-67 win on Wednesday.

FSU had 21 assists and 12 turnovers, often positioning Cleveland in the middle of the zone and using him as a shooter and distributor. Cleveland had 12 second-half points and on the night he made 9 of 19 shots from the floor and had three assists.

The Seminoles (8-17, 6-8 ACC) have dropped four of their last five games.

"The second half did us in. We were pretty efficient in the first half …" FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "The same opportunities that were available for us the first half were available the second half but we didn’t execute well enough to get those same opportunities."

FSU had to make 3-pointers against the 2-3 zone to stretch Syracuse out — and couldn’t. Darin Green Jr. connected on just 5 of 17 from beyond the arc, while Caleb Mills was only 1 of 7. On a night when just two more made 3s would have made a world of difference, the Seminoles suffered and were just 9 of 35 (25.7 percent).

FSU opened the game 0 for 8 from 3-point range, settled in through the middle of the game but faltered in the final 10 minutes.

The Seminoles shot just 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range in the second half. Syracuse shot 17 of 32 (53.1 percent) from the floor in the second half.

Joseph Girard scored 26 points on 9 of 16 shooting and Jesse Edwards had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Syracuse, which outscored FSU 47-32 in the second half. Judah Mintz also drove to the rim frequently, scoring 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting.

The Orange also won the rebounding battle 39-34

In his last nine games, McLeod had two games in which he didn’t score and two more in which he was injured. On Wednesday, McLeod matched a career-best with 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting with eight rebounds. McLeod’s previous career high was 15 points against Virginia Tech in Jan. 2022, while he had a career-best nine rebounds in November 2022 vs. Mercer.

Chandler Jackson played a season-high 25 points, scoring seven points and distributing a season-best nine assists. The freshman had a season-best eight points a few weeks ago in the win at Pittsburgh.


Up next

FSU will play host to Pittsburgh on Saturday at noon (ESPNU).