Florida St.-Miami Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 25, 2012
Florida State's only two losses in the past seven weeks have each been followed by a game against Miami. That is usually the perfect elixir. The 15th-ranked Seminoles look to bounce back from a tough defeat and continue their dominance over the struggling Hurricanes on Sunday night in Coral Gables. Florida State (19-8, 10-3 ACC) headed into Thursday's game against fifth-ranked Duke with an opportunity to sweep the season series and move into a first-place tie with North Carolina, but it had trouble knocking down shots in a 74-66 home loss. Michael Snaer had 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting and Bernard James hit 6 of 8 from the floor while scoring 13, but the rest of the team combined to shoot 11 of 37 (29.7 percent). The Seminoles made 4 of 15 from 3-point range and were 12 of 22 on free throws in losing for the second time in 12 games. "Sometimes it's not always that you're defeated, it's how you respond to it," coach Leonard Hamilton told Florida State's official website. "We challenge our players to not necessarily accept the loss but understand, learn from it, grow from it, hold our heads up high and move on." The Seminoles, who now need help to win their first regular-season ACC title, appear to have a good chance to quickly recover from their first defeat since a 64-60 loss at Boston College on Feb. 8. Florida State bounced back from the loss to the Eagles, which snapped a seven-game winning streak, with a 64-59 victory over Miami (16-10, 7-6) on Feb. 11. James matched his career high with 18 points to go with six rebounds and four blocked shots, while Snaer scored 12 and Ian Miller added 11 points. That marked the Seminoles' sixth straight victory over Miami since a 75-69 road loss Jan. 21, 2009, their lone defeat in the last 12 meetings. Florida State, which leads the ACC in defensive field-goal percentage at 37.2, held the Hurricanes to 5-of-22 shooting (22.7 percent) from 3-point range and 39.3 percent overall earlier this month. The Seminoles did a good job of keeping Reggie Johnson in check, limiting him to four points - 6.6 below his average. The loss to Florida State began a rough patch for Miami and Johnson, and it is uncertain if the 6-foot-10 center will play in the rematch. The Hurricanes had won five straight ACC games for the first time heading into their visit to Tallahassee, but have dropped three of four since. Johnson has been in the middle of that funk, averaging 6.0 points on 39.1 percent shooting in those four games. He averaged 16.8 points on 55.1 percent shooting in his previous four. Johnson reinjured his right knee in Tuesday's 75-70 loss at Maryland and was limited to three points on 1-of-5 shooting in 15 minutes. The junior missed the first nine games of the season recovering from knee surgery. While Johnson's injury hurt, the way Miami lost to the Terrapins was even more painful. The Hurricanes led 56-49 with nine minutes remaining, but didn't make another field goal until Shane Larkin's layup with 16.9 seconds left. "It hurts," coach Jim Larranaga said. "We were right there." Kenny Kadji, who averages a team-best 13.0 points, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. The 6-foot-11 junior led the Hurricanes with 14 points at Florida State two weeks ago.
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