Saturday , Feb , 21 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

UNC avoids another late collapse to Florida State

Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) – Rashad McCants scored 21 points to lead
16th-ranked North Carolina over Florida State, 78-71, in ACC action from the
Smith Center.

Raymond Felton added 17 points for the Tar Heels (16-7, 6-6 ACC), who won
back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a month. The last time UNC won
consecutive games was January 24th against Virginia and January 28th versus NC

North Carolina also avenged a 91-80 overtime decision at the Leon County
Civic Center back on January 22nd to Florida State. In that game, UNC led by
as many as 24 points in the first half only to lose the game. The Tar Heels
have won 21 of the 28 meetings since FSU joined the league (1991-92).

All-American candidate Tim Pickett posted a game-high 25 points for the
Seminoles (18-9, 6-7), who were looking for their first-ever regular
season sweep of the Tar Heels. The Seminoles dropped their 22nd straight
road game in conference play.

The Tar Heels got off to a quick start in this one and they led the rest of
the way. McCants drilled a three-pointer 5:42 into the game to give North
Carolina a 16-5 advantage.

The Seminoles did respond with an 8-2 run to keep the Tar Heels from running
away with the game. Michael Joiner capped off the burst with a bucket to trim
the deficit to 18-13 with 11:55 left to play in the first half.

However, that was the closest that Florida State would get the rest of the
half as North Carolina posted 13 of the next 14 points. Sean May completed the
crucial run via two free throws to put his team ahead, 31-14, with 8:16
remaining in the opening stanza.

The Tar Heels took a 43-27 edge into the intermission after outscoring the
Seminoles, 25-2 in the paint, and also winning the battle on the glass, 29-9.

In the second half, the Tar Heels led by as many as 17, but allowed the
Seminoles to get back into the game, bring back memories of the first meeting.

Andrew Wilson connected in a triple from the left corner that trimmed the UNC
lead to 65-54 with 3:59 left to play.

But on the next possession, McCants answered with a three of his own to push
the margin back to four and Florida State could get no closer.