Florida State (11-6, 2-1 ACC) jumped out to a 9-2 lead on three 3-pointers in the opening 2:33 of play and would never trail. UNC (15-3, 2-1 ACC) cut its deficit to two twice in the following three minutes, but the Seminoles continued knocking down treys and built a 31-19 margin before taking a 36-28 lead into halftime.
FSU opened the second half on a 22-4 spurt and eventually took a 33-point lead at 88-55 with 2:13 remaining.
Harrison Barnes led UNC with 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Tyler Zeller posted a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. John Henson added 10 points.
Deividas Dulkys paced Florida State with a career-high 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting, including an 8-of-10 effort from long range. Michael Snaer (17) and Okaro White (12) also reached double figures for the Seminoles.
Florida State shot 48.4 percent from the floor while holding UNC to 37.3 percent shooting. FSU also won the rebounding battle, 43-35.
INSIDE THE GAME
Poise and Effort Questions in Tally
Williams told reporters during his postgame press conference that there was “no facet of the game that we don’t need to work on.”
From free throws to boxing out to guarding the ball to help-side defense to turning the ball over, the final stat book provides a widespread assault on every category that UNC tracks. But when all of the statistics are that poor, they point to a problem much larger than the finite details. They point to a lack of poise and question effort.
“We had no answers for them on the court, I had no answers for them on the sideline,” Williams said. “I did the worst job of coaching the team that I’ve ever done, worst job of preparing a team to play that I’ve ever done. I’ve got to do a heckuva lot better job that that.”
Williams said there was “no question” that poise played a factor, but didn’t believe his players laid down. But the Tar Heels were not as tough as they needed to be. Their head coach said his players needed to be more aggressive in getting through screens as well as setting screens.
North Carolina lost its poise in the second half in the loss to UNLV in November, prompting several players to admit that they “panicked.” Against Kentucky, the Tar Heels had a chance to foul after Anthony Davis blocked John Henson with seven seconds left, but they stood stunned long enough that the Wildcats got the ball into the open court and were able to run out the clock.
Marshall told reporters that he felt that the game was getting out of control in the first half, despite UNC making a run to draw within eight at the break.
“In the second half, when their confidence is that high, it’s hard to stop a team and we didn’t do anything to help ourselves,” Marshall said.
Zeller briefly compared this loss to the 20-point debacle at Georgia Tech last season – also UNC’s third ACC game of the season – before hammering home the sentiment that spread across the Tar Heel fan base on Saturday afternoon.
“This is much worse,” Zeller said.
Dulkys Draining from Deep
Florida State entered Saturday’s contest ranked 12th in the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage (30.2). The Seminoles’ season-high for made 3-pointers in a game was nine in an overtime loss to UConn on Nov. 26.
But against the Tar Heels, FSU’s backcourt duo of Luke Loucks and Dulkys were unconscious early – combining to knock down 6-of-7 treys – to give their team a 31-19 lead with 7:35 to play. Dulkys matched his season-high with four made 3-pointers in that opening 12-minute, 25-second stretch.
Dulkys kept getting open looks in the second half and he kept draining 3-pointers. The Silute, Lithuania native blew past his career high in points with 32 – previous high was 22 – and connected on 8-of-10 treys in all.
His second-to-last 3-pointer served as the proverbial nail in the coffin. North Carolina was in the midst of an 8-0 run to cut its deficit to 22 points with 7:51 to play, but Dulkys found Okara White for a lay-up on the next possession before draining a 3-ball after UNC turned it over in the backcourt.
“The Dulkys youngster I thought was sensational,” Williams said. “They come in the game shooting 30 percent from three, but he’s 8-for-10. You take away his 8-for-10 and they were still about 30 percent – they were 4-for-17…
“My only concern is that he was so open when he was shooting the basketball. There’s no way that he should be that open.”
The Cold Hard Facts
Let’s get the positive out the way – Zeller’s 14 rebounds were a career-high.
Now hide the women and children before proceeding.
UNC posted season-highs in turnovers (22) and field goal percentage defense (48.4), while dishing out a season-low eight assists. Dulkys’s eight 3-pointers mark a season-high in treys made by an individual opponent. Marshall set a career-high with seven turnovers, which also represents the season-high for most turnovers by a Tar Heel. His four assists were also a season-low.
John Henson missed all seven of his free throws and UNC’s bench scored just eight points on 2-of-18 shooting.
North Carolina flirted with its season-low in 3-point field goal percentage (18.2, 4-of-21) but avoided adding that stat to the list. The Tar Heels did lose the rebounding battle for the sixth time in 18 games.
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