Miami beats FSU to stay perfect in ACC
Canes 12th consecutive win
If it hadn't been for a coaching change a couple years ago, Shane Larkin may have been playing for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State.
Instead, Andy Enfield, the Florida State assistant recruiting the 5-foot-11 guard, left to take the head coaching job at Florida Gulf Coast and Larkin chose Miami.
The son of baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, Shane showed Seminole fans Wednesday night what might have been.
The Miami sophomore point guard scored 13 of his 22 points in the final 7 1-2 minutes to help third-ranked Miami hold off Florida State 74-68 for its 12th straight victory.
No one was more impressed than Hamilton, who had Larkin in his summer camps for two years.
"We didn't have an answer for Larkin," Hamilton said.
"His speed, quickness and his ability to make decisions is phenomenal for a sophomore guard," the veteran Florida State coach said. "I haven't seen anybody that has the whole package like he does."
"He is going to do whatever he thinks the team needs him to do," said Miami coach Jim Larranaga, now in his second season coaching the 'Canes. "He is a guy that could be scoring 20 or 25 points in games. But he's also all about winning, and he's ready and willing and able to get the ball to the other guys."
Reggie Johnson added 15 points for Miami (20-3, 11-0 ACC), which became the first team to start the league season 11-0 in a dozen years.
The 6-10, 290-pound Johnson came off the bench and spurred a 25-5 run midway through the first half to help the Hurricanes wipe out an early 13-2 deficit on their way to a 38-30 halftime advantage.
"I wanted to get the team a boost and I think I did that in the first half," Johnson said. "There's no magic. I think we're just hungry."
Durand Scott had 13 points and Julian Gamble 10 for the Hurricanes, who will try to keep their ACC slate perfect Sunday when they visit Clemson.
A 3-point play by Scott gave Miami a 51-39 lead with 13:05 left, but Florida State countered with a 12-0 run keyed by a pair of Terry Whisnant 3's to tie the score on Okaro White's basket. They never could get the lead.
The Hurricanes built their lead back to 68-56, largely behind Larkin.
"It's a very tough team when you've got a quick point guard like that and then you have deadly shooters on each wing," said White.
White led the Seminoles (13-11, 5-6) with 15 points before fouling out with 2:04 left. Freshman Devon Bookert added 12 points.
Larkin, meanwhile, has no regrets.
"I'm glad I ended up in Miami," he said in the Hurricanes' locker room afterward.
North Carolina was the last team to start its ACC schedule at 11-0. The Tar Heels, however, faded down the stretch of the 2000-01 season and finished with a 13-3 league mark while archrival Duke led by Shane Battier went on to win the national championship.
Two years earlier, the Blue Devils were the lone team in ACC history to go 16-0 in league play, but lost to UConn in the national championship game.
The ACC has gone to 18 conference games now because of expansion.
Miami, which had never been ranked higher than eighth nationally before this season, hasn't lost since Christmas Day.
The 'Canes cracked the Top 25 just three weeks ago and rocketed toward the top on the strength of several impressive victories. Miami became the first ACC team to beat both North Carolina and Duke by at least 25 points in the same season with an 87-61 win over the Tar Heels last week.
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