Bacon sizzles again, Bell helps with key shots in FSU victory
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
No question that rookie sensation Dwayne Bacon had a big hand in another FSU victory. Again.
The only thing new was the way that junior guard Banji Bell responded every time that the Seminoles needed a big shot on their way to a 76-65 victory over Clemson University this past Saturday at the Civic Center.
Bell delivered for the first time with a 3-pointer after Clemson pulled within one in the first half. He came through again when the Tigers’ lead was again at one point in the second half.
Big shots like those plus the defensive pressure that FSU put on Clemson made it a tough night for the Tigers, almost a month after they beat FSU in South Carolina. FSU outrebounded Clemson 21-15 in the first half and finished the game with nine block shots and 13 steals.
“It’s all about staying in play; all about effort,” said center Boris Bojanovsky, who swatted away Clemson three times with two steals during his 13 minutes on the floor. “It was a whole team effort.”
Bell had two of those steals and although he finished with eight points, they were backbreakers.
“They just wouldn’t give up,” said Clemson’s coach Brad Brownell. “They finished the job today. To their credit, their kids made plays today.
“The Bell kid made two big 3s today. Those are NBA 3s and Bacon was really good. He and Beasley are really good. They just put a lot of pressure on you. When you don’t run good offense and they get out in transition consistently, that’s when Florida State is at their best and they were there today. That was hard.”
FSU transition play held Clemson to just two fast-break points, while the Seminoles had 18.
The Seminoles finished the night hitting 26 of 54 attempts from the field, with Bacon scoring a team-high 21 points. Malik Beasley scored 16, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 10.
“I thought they grew up a little bit today,” said coach Leonard Hamilton. “In a game as important as this, I thought our guys were motivated because of the respect that they have for Clemson.
“We realized that if we weren’t at our very best we were going to have a difficult time beating them.”
Clemson went on top 41-39 on a put-back by Sid Djitte for their first lead since midway through the first half. That broke the final tie before the Seminoles got a foul shot from Terrance Mann and added a Beasley layup to go up by one 42-41 with just over 12 minutes to play.
Clemson continued to make it a close game until Bell’s second-half trey that set off a final FSU run.
“We’ve worked on those things since August,” Bell said. “The things that we were doing out there tonight are the things that are a part of us and are what we need to be doing in every game.”