CLEMSON, S.C. — Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton found himself strangely encouraged as the Seminoles missed their first five shots and turned the ball over twice in the opening five minutes against the country's top scoring defense in Clemson.
"I thought we were running some good offense," Hamilton said. "I knew we just had to keep patient."
Eventually, FSU found its offense and matched the Tigers' defense, too, for a 56-41 victory Thursday night.
Ian Miller led the Seminoles (10-4, 1-1 ACC) with 15 points, and Aaron Thomas and Devin Bookert had 10 points apiece. Clemson (10-4, 1-1) had its lowest point total this season.
"We had a lot of guys that gave us good energy," Hamilton said.
FSU avoided its first 0-2 ACC start since the 2006-07 season by equaling Clemson's effort on defense. The Tigers entered No. 1 nationally in fewest average points allowed per game.
FSU held the Tigers to a season-low 30 percent shooting and forced a season-high 18 turnovers, several leading to uncontested points. Clemson struggled against FSU's height advantage.
"You've got to have some deflections that lead to easy baskets," Hamilton said.
Clemson's in-your-face defense seemed to rattle FSU early; the Seminoles didn't score in the first four minutes. Then they went on a 13-2 run to gain a lead that they increased to 16 in the second half.
The Tigers got within 50-41 in the final four minutes, but FSU's Baron Bojanovsky broke free for a dunk. Clemson trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
K.J. McDaniels led Clemson with 14 points.
"Obviously, a tough night at the office," coach Brad Brownell said. "We just couldn't get it down. That part's a little disappointing."