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No. 17 Florida State men top Clemson behind barrage of 3s

The Seminoles make 15 3-pointers after having 11 in their three previous games combined.
Florida State's Nathaniel Jack, center, and teammates flash 3s late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Florida State defeated Clemson 72-53. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
Florida State's Nathaniel Jack, center, and teammates flash 3s late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Florida State defeated Clemson 72-53. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) [MARK WALLHEISER | AP]
Published Dec. 9, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Stung by an inconsistent performance from 3-point range this season, No. 17 Florida State focused for a week on getting better from beyond the arc.

And it showed.

Devin Vassell had 14 points and nine rebounds as the Seminoles made 15 3s in routing Clemson 72-53 Sunday.

The Seminoles had hit only 11 three-pointers in their last three games combined. They were 1-for-17 in a win over Tennessee on Nov. 29.

“Once they get momentum and start making a few 3s, it becomes extremely difficult,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.

Florida State (8-2, 1-1 ACC) did just that in the second half. The Seminoles drained 11 of 18 shots (61.1 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half and finished 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Anthony Polite had 12 points on four 3s, and M.J. Walker scored 11 points, including a trio of 3s.

Eight Seminoles made at least one shot from beyond the arc.

“We were a lot more aggressive in the paint,” Polite said. “And it definitely made it easy for our shooters to catch the ball and shoot. The percentage went up. Offensively we were just a lot smoother.”

Clemson’s offense was not, especially in the second half. Florida State led 33-27 at the break, but Clemson was just 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from the floor — and 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc — in the final 20 minutes.

The Seminoles also had nine blocks.

“In the second half we just didn’t execute very well,” Brownell said. “We made a lot of silly plays. Our poor offense took away a lot of our energy. We couldn’t score.”

Tevin Mack scored 14 points and Al-Amir Dawes 13 for Clemson (5-4, 0-2), which had 18 turnovers.

Trent Forrest and Patrick Williams had nine points apiece for Florida State, which finished shooting 25-of-54 (46.3 percent) overall.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time working on our perimeter shooting,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We got a lot more assists because we realized that it was kind of hitting your head against a brick wall trying to drive into the lane. So we started driving and kicking, which created some more high-percentage shots from the perimeter.”

New Seminoles football coach Mike Norvell was introduced to the fans in the first half. A day earlier, he coached Memphis to the American Athletic Conference title.

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