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Florida State Seminoles basketball rallies from 19 down to shock No. 10 Clemson

CLEMSON, S.C. — The only ones rushing Littlejohn Coliseum's court after this one were the joyous Florida State Seminoles.

Two nights after No. 10 Clemson throttled Duke 74-47 and touched off a wild, orange-clad celebration, the Tigers let a 19-point second-half lead slip away in the Seminoles' 65-61 victory Saturday night.

Toney Douglas had 23 points, 12 in FSU's 23-4 run the final nine minutes. When it ended, the Tigers (19-3, 5-3 ACC) and a sold-out crowd walked away in disbelief over what they watched.

"We just didn't keep our foot on the gas pedal," Clemson senior K.C. Rivers said. "Wednesday night, we kept our foot on the gas pedal. We seen (Duke) getting weak, we took advantage of it.

"Tonight, we didn't do that. We seen them getting weak, we let them back in it. We gave them life."

Douglas, who went in as the ACC's third-leading scorer, looked way off his game, held to six points in the first half and knocked around by Clemson's swarming defense.

But he kept telling his teammates they were too good to miss shots as often as they were. The Seminoles shot 30 percent in the first half.

Douglas preached offensive patience and defensive tenacity. "We got to score on offense eventually. We've got to score and stop, score and stop," he said. "That was our game plan."

It couldn't have worked any better as FSU won at Clemson for the first time since 2001 after seven straight losses.

Number eight looked inevitable.

The Tigers were still flying high after the Duke win and led 44-25 with 15 minutes left. FSU (18-5, 5-3) gave Clemson something the Blue Devils failed to, though: a second-half fight.

The Tigers were still ahead 57-42 on Trevor Booker's 3-pointer with nine minutes left when the Seminoles got going.

Solomon Alabi began the comeback with an inside basket, then Douglas hit a jumper. He added a 3-pointer moments later, and FSU trailed 57-51.

Luke Loucks' 3-pointer, his only basket, cut the lead to one, and Alabi hit a turnaround jumper with 2:03 left that put FSU ahead for good. Douglas secured the win with five free throws in the final 43 seconds.

Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton wished he could spend more time savoring his team's second road win over a top-10 opponent in three seasons. Instead, he's already pointing to Tuesday's game with Virginia.

"This is still a team that's growing and developing," he said. "We've got to enjoy it, but we've got to keep everything in proper perspective."

FSU 65

No. 10 Clemson 61

Florida State Seminoles basketball rallies from 19 down to shock No. 10 Clemson 02/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 7, 2009 10:39pm]

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