No. 22 Florida State faces tough test at Syracuse
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After losing four of its first five Atlantic Coast Conference games, Florida State has bounced back with three straight wins.
The 22nd-ranked Seminoles (16-5, 4-4) look to continue their momentum and climb above .500 in the conference for the first time this season Tuesday at Syracuse (16-6, 7-2), which has won two straight.
While Florida State lit up the scoreboard in last year's 101-90 double-overtime win against the Orange, the Seminoles had to overcome a sluggish performance in their most recent game.They made just 34.8 percent of their shots (16 for 46) to eke out a 59-49 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
"We got to find a way to smooth it out where we're consistent with how we go out and perform every night out," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "That's kind of been a moving target for us. I'm just glad that we're back to 4-4. We have to keep hopefully moving in the right direction."
Mfiondu Kabengele, who leads the team with 13.0 points per game, scored 12 against the Yellow Jackets to reach double figures for the 14th time in 21 games. The 6-foot-10 sophomore forward was just 2 of 6 from the field, but knocked down 7 of 9 free throws.
Terance Mann also had 12 points against Georgia Tech as he works his way past a nagging foot injury. The senior guard has reached double digits in scoring in three of his last four games and has 33 rebounds in that stretch to bolster his team-leading average of 6.6.
While Mann missed last year's double-overtime contest, Syracuse's Tyus Battle overcame a five-point performance in the first half of that game to finish with a team-best 37. The junior guard highlighted his night by making five 3-pointers.
Battle, who averages a team-best 17.5 points per outing, connected on 11 of 17 shots for 31 points in the Orange's 77-71 win at Boston College on Wednesday before failing to find his stroke Saturday at Pitt. He went 2 for 13 from the field and misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts to finish with six points against the Panthers.
Senior guard Frank Howard picked up the slack with 10 of his 15 points after halftime, with two 3-pointers coming in Syracuse's decisive 16-5 run in the second half.
"I know we're a lot better than we were when Frank didn't play earlier in the year," coach Jim Boeheim said of Howard, who missed four games at the onset of the season with a back injury.
Sophomore forward Oshae Brissett reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time in seven outings with a team-best 18 points.
"I stayed aggressive the whole game, I never let up. Coach was calling my number and every time he did I felt like I was able to get a bucket for him," said the 6-foot-8 Brissett, who also had 12 rebounds to raise his club-high average to 7.6.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 4, 2019