TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) — Redshirt sophomore Caleb Mills led the Seminoles with 16 points as they fell short to Syracuse, 63-60, in the first conference game of the season. Redshirt senior Malik Osborne contributed 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds against the Orange.
The loss ended Florida State’s school-record of 25 consecutive home ACC wins – a streak that began on January 22, 2019. The Seminoles’ 25 consecutive home victories now stands as the second longest in conference history behind Duke’s 26 consecutive home wins from 1997-2000.
The Seminoles were up 32-24 at half and held the lead until Syracuse took over with 13 minutes remaining in the game. The Orange took the lead on a jump shot by Jimmy Boeheim (38-37) and stretched their lead to 11 with 5:43 left to play before the Seminoles staged a furious comeback.
Beginning with a free throw by Malik Osborne at the 5:02 mark, the Seminoles outscored Syracuse 16-8 to close the game but were unable to tie the game or take the lead in the closing seconds.
The Seminoles closed the gap to just one, 61-60, on a 3-point shot by Osborne.
The Orange increased their lead to 63-60 on two free throws by Cole Swider with 10 seconds remaining to be played.
Florida State had two chances to tie the game in the final second. A 3-point shot attempt by Mills looked like it would fall, but skipped off the rim. Osborne grabbed the offensive rebound, worked he way outside of the 3-point arc, and was just off line with a potential go-ahead basket as the buzzer sounded.
Redshirt senior Anthony Polite contributed six points, four rebounds, and two steals. Polite now has 99 career steals, only one away from 100 for his career. He has had at least one steal in every game this season and multiple steals in five of eight games.
Mills also had two steals and is averaging 3.3 steals per game in his last three games. The transfer from Houston is also averaging 18.3 points per game in those three games (17 against Boston University, 22 against Purdue, 16 against Syracuse).
Osborne made two 3-pointers and has made at least one 3-point shot in six of Florida State’s first eight games this season. The senior also shot a perfect four of four from the free throw line and has made 10 consecutive free throws.
With 11 different Seminoles on the court throughout the game, Florida State outscored Syracuse in bench points, 25-1.
Senior RayQuan Evans put up nine points, pulled down six rebounds, and had three blocks in his first game back since the Seminoles’ win against Missouri in the Jacksonville Classic.
Freshman Matthew Cleveland and junior Naheem McCleod contributed six apiece for the Seminoles. McCleod was a perfect three of three shooting from the field.
Redshirt senior Harrison Prieto came into the game early in the first half and scored four points. Prieto has scored 22 points in the first eight games of the 2021-22 season. He totaled 24 points in the first 22 games and five years of his career.
Syracuse’s Joseph Girard and Buddy Boeheim led the team with 16 points apiece. Jimmy Boeheim contributed 13 points.
The Seminoles travel to South Carolina in Rock Hill, S.C., on December 12 in the No Room for Racism Classic. The game tips-off at noon and will be aired on ESPN2.