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  1. Sports
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  3. Florida State Seminoles

FSU Seminoles get a revenge win against Pittsburgh Panthers

No. 8 Florida State, which lost its season opener at Pitt, has no trouble this time around in Tallahassee to remain one game behind first-place Duke in the ACC.
Pittsburgh's Justin Champagnie (11) and Florida State's Malik Osborne (10) battle for a rebound in the first half in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. [MARK WALLHEISER | AP]

TALLAHASSEE — Patrick Williams is feeling more comfortable, and the freshman’s play has the rest of the ACC very uncomfortable.

Williams scored 16 points, Anthony Polite had 10 points and six rebounds and No. 8 Florida State pulled away in the second half and beat Pittsburgh 82-67 Tuesday night. The victory helped the Seminoles avenge a 63-61 loss at Pitt in the season opener on Nov. 6.

A 6-foot-8 forward, Williams came off the bench to score in double figures for the 10th time this season for the ’Noles (22-4, 12-3 ACC), who improved to 14-0 at home.

“Confidence comes with experience,” Williams said. “Toward the beginning, little experience in college at all and then little experience in the ACC, I feel like really the game has been slowing down a lot for me. I’ve just been able to think the game more.”

Williams’ athleticism and instincts are showing. He has scored in double figures in four of the past five games, and his past two games have been among his best. On Saturday, he scored 17 in a win over Syracuse — his highest point total in an ACC game — on 7-of-14 shooting. On Tuesday, it was another efficient night as he shot 7 of 12 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds.

“He’s really starting to blossom,” Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel said. “There’s a reason why he’s looked at as one of the top guys, potentially, for the NBA draft, if that’s something he chooses to do.”

Williams has plenty of time to make that decision. For now, he’s a spark plug off the bench each game. Led by Williams, Polite and Dominik Olejniczak (eight points), FSU’s bench outscored Pittsburgh 53-15.

“I was very pleased with our bench,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Our rotation guys came in and gave us a lot of effort and execution.”

Au’Diese Toney had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Xavier Johnson added 12 points and seven assists for Pittsburgh (15-12, 6-10), which has lost six of its last eight games.

The Panthers shot 21 of 56 (37.5 percent) from the floor, and made only 4 of 22 3-pointers (18.2 percent).

“We didn’t make some shots and we didn’t make the best decisions throughout the game,” Capel said.

Balsa Koprivica had seven points and seven rebounds, helping FSU gain a 40-27 rebounding edge.

Devin Vassell returned from a one-game absence for FSU and finished with three points and four rebounds.

MAN OF STEAL

Trent Forrest had two first-half steals, giving him 219 for his career and moving him into the top 25 in ACC history. Forrest is third on FSU’s all-time steals list, behind Charlie Ward (238) and Delvon Arrington (225).

ROAD MISFORTUNE VS. TOP 25

Pittsburgh is 0-21 on the road against AP Top 25 teams, a streak that dates seven years. The Panthers’ last road victory over a ranked team was at Cincinnati, 62-52 in overtime, on Feb. 9, 2013.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

FSU has hung out at No. 8 for a few weeks and likely won’t get a chance to move up again until the Seminoles host No. 11 Louisville on Monday.

BIG PICTURE

Pittsburgh was able to keep the game close in the first half, but Trey McGowens was held to only three points — he averages 12.5 — and the Panthers made fewer than 20 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Devin Vassell and M.J. Walker, two of the Seminoles’ top guards, didn’t score in the first half. But FSU had 29 bench points in the first half, more than making up for the scoring load. Walker finished with seven points.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: Hosts Virginia on Saturday.

FSU: At NC State on Saturday.

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