RJ Davis hit a floater in the lane and made three free throws over the last 45.5 seconds and No. 3 North Carolina knocked off Florida State 75-68 in a matchup of Atlantic Coast Conference leaders Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla.
Davis scored a game-high 24 points and freshman Elliot Cadeau added his collegiate high 16 points for the Tar Heels (17-3), who improved to 9-0 in league play for the first time since 2001.
Harrison Ingram posted his fourth double-double (13 points, 17 rebounds) in his last five games for the Heels, who won their 10th straight game.
Primo Spears scored a season-high 15 points to lead the Seminoles (12-8, 6-3 ACC), who came into the game in second place in the conference.
Jamir Wakins and Darin Green Jr. chipped in with 12 points each for the ‘Noles and Chandler Jackson added 10 points.
Free throws and rebounding went very much in Carolina’s favor. The Heels won the boards 41-32 and were 19-of-24 from the line to Florida State’s 5-of-11 effort.
The Tar Heels trailed by five at halftime before outscoring the Seminoles 15-9 in the first six minutes of the second half to regain the lead and stretched that 51-50 advantage to 61-52 with 12:38 left in the game. They were 9 of 11 from the field over that span while the Seminoles were going 6-of-14.
The Tar Heels were still up by 10 points with just over eight minutes left but the ‘Noles ignited a 7-0 run that got them within 66-63. But they missed their next three attempts and Carolina pulled back out to a 70-63 advantage.
It was down to a 70-68 game after Watkins and Jackson combined for three free throws and Spears added a layup at 2:36, before Davis took over.
The Tar Heels led by double digits, 19-8, early but the Seminoles responded with a 3-point barrage and not only caught up at 31-31 but took a 37-31 lead on back-to-back triples by Watkins and Spears.
Shooting 32.7 percent from long range entering the game, the Seminoles were 7-of-12 on 3-pointers in shooting 50 percent from the field for a 41-36 lead at the break. They took advantage of 12 Carolina turnovers for a huge 19-3 advantage in points off turnovers in the period.
The Heels finished with 17 turnovers and the Seminoles’ advantage in points off turnovers ended up 26-12.