Florida State refused to go away on the road against North Carolina on Saturday, but ultimately didn’t have enough to upset the 15th-ranked Tar Heels, who improved to 16-4 (6-1 ACC) while the Seminoles dropped to 10-10 (2-5 ACC). North Carolina led just 35-31 at halftime but managed to do enough to hold off the feisty ‘Noles. Tar Heel Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 19 points while Brice Johnson put up 18 points and 14 rebounds. In all, four UNC players scored in double figures.
For FSU, the story of the day was Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who despite a brief hand injury exploded for a game-high 35 points including five three-pointers to single-handily keep Florida State in the game down the stretch. In doing so he set a new school freshman record for points in a game, scoring 22 in the second half and finishing the game shooting 14-for-26 from the field. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to grab the upset as no other Seminole player could sink more than four shots and Devon Bookert was the only other ‘Nole in double figures with 11 points. A final Rathan-Mayes three lifted FSU to within three points with 17 seconds to play but that would be as close as they would come.
Florida State shot 34 percent from three and finished with a 44 percent shooting percentage while North Carolina finished shooting 48 percent total and just 25 percent from three. Rathan-Mayes’ 35 points is also the highest scoring game for a Seminole since Al Thornton scored 45 against Miami in March of 2007. This was Florida State’s fifth ACC road game, the most in the conference. FSU returns home to face Wake Forest on Wednesday while the Tar Heels remain home to host Syracuse on Monday.