The scoreboard at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum flashed: "Take that, Seminoles."
No. 16 Florida State had little other choice.
The Seminoles, one of the best road teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, fell 68-67 to Clemson, one of the ACC's worst teams, as Douglas Edwards' three-point attempt missed in the final seconds on Tuesday night.
Florida State coach Pat Kennedy called the loss "a wakeup call for our kids to come out from the start and play well."
"I'm concerned about our team not being mentally tough," he said. "We never really got into synch here, and Clemson just played harder. Tonight, there were two young teams and we learned a good lesson."
The Seminoles (18-7, 10-5 ACC) had won four straight and 11 of their past 13 games, including a 102-90 victory over Clemson two weeks ago in Tallahassee.
Chris Whitney scored 21 points, including five three-pointers, and freshman Sharone Wright hit the decisive free throw for the Tigers with 21 seconds left.
"This team never ceases to amaze me," Clemson coach Cliff Ellis said. "I don't care what anybody else says, or how many games they win. This group is special. I'm proud of what they've done as I was of the championship team two years ago."
Ellis is a Florida State graduate, but there weren't any divided loyalties. "It's a special moment beating my alma mater," said Ellis, who saw his Tigers end a three-game losing streak.
"I think that will sink in as time goes in. Florida State is a special place with people who have been very good to me, and I still pull for them _ when they're not playing Clemson."
Clemson improved to 13-9 overall and 3-8 in the ACC.
The game was tied 34-all at halftime, but Whitney hit a pair of three-pointers early in the second half to key a 6-2 run and give the Tigers (13-9, 3-8) a four-point lead with 17:11 left.
The Seminoles came back to tie it at 43 with 13:38 remaining on a basket by Sam Cassell, who led Florida State (18-7, 10-5) with 21 points. But Clemson followed with a 9-2 run that featured a pair of inside baskets by freshman Devin Gray and another three-pointer by Whitney. That gave the Tigers a 52-45 lead, and they never trailed again.