SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Terance Mann scored 22 points, Mfiondu Kabengele added 18 and No. 22 Florida State beat Syracuse 80-62 on Tuesday night.
Florida State (17-5, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its fourth straight after starting conference play with four losses in five games, including consecutive setbacks on the road to Boston College and Pittsburgh.
Syracuse (16-7, 7-3 ACC) entered the game 2-3 against ranked teams, having beaten two on the road – Ohio State in late November and Duke three weeks ago. But the Orange fell far behind early against the Seminoles, rallied to within a point in the second half and then fizzled at the end.
Kabengele has scored in double figures in 15 of the team’s 22 games, all as a reserve. M.J. Walker and Phil Cofer each scored 11 points.
Tyus Battle led Syracuse with 23 points, Elijah Hughes had 17 and Oshae Brissett had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Syracuse, which trailed by 22 points in the first half, started the second with a 7-3 spurt, pulling within 42-38 on Battle’s steal and fast-break layup.
The Orange drew within a point on Brissett’s putback with 13:34 to go, and the game remained tight for the next 3 minutes before the Seminoles reeled off seven straight points. Kabengele’s tip, a dunk by Mann and a pair of 3-pointers by Kabengele boosted the Florida State lead to 65-52 with under seven minutes left and the Orange couldn’t respond.
Kabengele, who entered the game 8 of 24 from beyond the arc, hit all four of his long-range attempts against the Orange. FSU hit 11 of 22 from behind the arc and made 30 of 55 shots (54.4 percent).
In winning its previous three ACC games, the Seminoles shot 45.7 percent from the field, 44.8 percent from the 3-point line, and the hot shooting continued early against the Orange. The Seminoles were 5 of 6 from long range in the first seven minutes, using the barrage to key a 13-2 spurt and gain a 19-9 lead. Kabengele, Mann and Walker drilled 3-pointers in a span of just over a minute against the reeling Orange defense.
After Battle hit a free throw for the Orange, Florida State went on another tear, outscoring the Orange 14-2, and Mann’s three-point play gave the Seminoles a 36-14 lead with 6:05 to go in the half.
The Orange responded with a stirring rally, forcing five turnovers in the final five minutes as they closed the half with a 17-3 surge to make it a game again despite allowing eight 3s.
Battle started it with a fast-break layup and runner in the lane, Brissett followed with a three-point play, and Battle and Hughes each hit 3-pointers in the final minute to move Syracuse within 39-31 at the break.
Mann notched a steal in the first half to join some elite company. He’s the third player in Florida State history to have 1,100 points, 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals. Bob Sura (1992-95) and Douglas Edwards (1991-93) are the others.
It was a homecoming of sorts for FSU guard David Nichols, a graduate transfer who starred for three seasons at Albany, two hours east of Syracuse. His season high this year was 19 against Saint Louis in December. He had two points in 10 minutes.
Florida State: Three of the Seminoles’ nine remaining games are against teams in the AP Top 25 that sit above them in the ACC. They play Louisville and Virginia Tech at home and North Carolina on the road. If they continue their hot shooting, they have the talent to make some noise.
Syracuse: Three players – Battle, Brissett and Hughes – accounted for 56 points against the Seminoles. Senior point guard Frank Howard did not score, attempting just two shots from the floor and missing all three free throws. If his game doesn’t come around, the Orange will have to find an answer somewhere.
Florida State: Visits Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
Syracuse: Hosts Boston College on Saturday.
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