TALLAHASSEE — After getting out of the gates slowly in ACC play last season, Florida State is off to its best start ever.
The 12th-ranked Seminoles defeated No. 21 Virginia Tech 93-78 Saturday for their 11th straight win, making them 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since they joined the conference.
Despite a 15-1 record, which matches the 1988-89 team for the best in school history, coach Leonard Hamilton said he is trying to keep things in perspective, especially with his team two games into a six-game stretch of facing ranked teams and having started 0-3 in conference last season. The Seminoles host Duke at 8 Tuesday.
"In order for these games to mean something, we have to keep winning," he said. "There are a lot of positive things going on, but by no stretch do we feel like we are starting to get satisfied or feeling way too good."
Even though starters Terance Mann (22 points) and Dwayne Bacon (17) led the Seminoles in scoring, it was the bench that came up big. It outscored the Hokies' reserves 35-6, with six players seeing seven minutes or more of action. Jarquez Smith led the way 12 points, and PJ Savoy added 11, including three 3-pointers.
"They bring everything — energy, scoring and defense. They are like a second starting unit," Mann said. "It wears them down and we used that to our advantage."
The Seminoles also wore the Hokies (12-3, 1-2) down with 33 points off their transition game.
GATORS PULL AWAY: KeVaughn Allen hit four 3-pointers in the final 7:34 and scored 23 to send No. 24 Florida to an 83-70 victory over visiting Tennessee.
The Gators (12-3, 3-0 SEC) pulled away from a tie at 56 with 8:57 left to win their fifth in a row. Allen made three 3s in five possessions to turn a game that had featured six ties and 12 lead changes into a runaway.
Tennessee (8-7, 1-2) led 33-32 at halftime by forcing nine turnovers and holding the Gators to 36.4 percent shooting. UF hit 10 of its first 11 shots in the second half.
"We've grown," coach Mike White said. "Last year, we did not respond in a hard-fought game. We found a way."
NEW COACH, SAME USF: Semi Ojeleye had 21 points and eight rebounds for host SMU, which beat USF 84-65 in the Bulls' first game under interim coach Murry Bartow.
Troy Holston led USF, which has three straight and five of its past six, with 20 points and six 3s, both career highs. The Bulls (6-8, 0-3 AAC) led 11-10 early but scored just three in the next eight minutes, allowing SMU to take a 28-14 lead with 6:55 left.
The Bulls got within 46-41 with 16:10 left, but the Mustangs (14-3, 4-0) responded with a 6-0 run.
NO. 1 'NOVA 93, MARQUETTE 81: Kris Jenkins scored a season-high 23, Josh Hart had 19 and the host Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Big East) bounced back from their first loss of the season.
NO. 2 BAYLOR 61, OKLA. ST. 57: Manu Lecomte scored 17, Johnathan Motley had 13 and the host Bears (15-0, 3-0 Big 12) closed in on the school's first No. 1 ranking.
NO. 3 KANSAS 85, TEXAS TECH 68: Frank Mason scored 26, Devonte Graham added a season-high 20 and the Jayhawks (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) improved to 17-0 at home against the Red Raiders.
NO. 6 KENTUCKY 97, ARKANSAS 71: Freshman De'Aaron Fox had a career-high 27 points and added six assists and six rebounds to lead the Wildcats (13-2, 3-0 SEC) to their 21st straight conference win at home.
NO. 7 W. VA. 82, TCU 70: Daxter Miles tied a season high with 22 points for the host Mountaineers (13-2, 2-1 Big 12), who needed a late burst to improve to 10-0 against the Horned Frogs since the schools joined the league in 2012.
NO. 8 DUKE 93, BC 82: Freshman Jayson Tatum matched a season high with 22 points, and the host Blue Devils (14-2, 2-1 ACC) held on in Jeff Capel's season debut as ailing coach Mike Krzyzewski's temporary replacement.
NO. 9 LOUISVILLE 65, GA. TECH 50: Donovan Mitchell scored 13 of his 20 in the second half in Atlanta to help the visiting Cardinals (13-3, 1-2 ACC) become the last team in the league to pick up a conference win.
NO. 10 CREIGHTON 78, PROVIDENCE 64: Justin Patton had 20 points and Maurice Watson scored 11 with 14 assists for the visiting Bluejays (15-1, 3-1 Big East), who opened a 10-0 lead and never trailed.
GAMES POSTPONED: The rivalry game between No. 14 North Carolina and North Carolina State scheduled for Saturday night in Chapel Hill was postponed until 1 p.m. today because of winter weather and potentially dangerous road conditions. No. 5 Gonzaga's game at Portland was also postponed because of a winter storm. No makeup date was announced.
Women: USF cruises
TAMPA — Kitija Laksa scored 37 to lead No. 22 USF over Tulsa 84-68 for the Bulls' fifth straight win. Laksa shot 13-of-25, made seven 3-pointers and just missed tying her career best of 38 points. She hit six 3-pointers in the first half to lead the Bulls (13-1, 2-0 AAC) to a 13-point halftime lead over the Golden Hurricane (5-11, 1-2).
NO. 2 BAYLOR 86, OKLA. ST. 50: Kalani Brown had 17 points and nine rebounds for the visiting Bears (15-1, 4-0 Big 12), who won their 13th straight.
NO. 3 MARYLAND 96, N'WESTERN 65: Brionna Jones had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the host Terrapins (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten), who scored the first six and never trailed.
KING STAYING PUT: Shaun King, who was USF's quarterbacks coach last season, has been retained on new coach Charlie Strong's staff, with a tweak in his job description. King reportedly will coach running backs.
I-AA CHAMPIONSHIP: Khalid Abdullah ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns as James Madison (14-1) won its second Division I-AA title, beating Youngstown State 28-14 in Frisco, Texas.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.