Florida State wins 10th straight in series against Yellow Jackets



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ATLANTA — Devon Bookert liked how Florida State's players emerged from a late timeout and challenged each other to tighten up the defense.

"We didn't want to quit," Bookert said. "We tried to box out and limit them to one shot."

Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 20 points, Jarquez Smith added 15 points and Florida State rallied in the game's final minute to beat Georgia Tech 57-53 on Saturday.

The Seminoles (14-12, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won five of eight overall and 10 in a row over Georgia Tech.

Marques Georges-Hunt finished with 17 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (11-14, 2-11 ACC), but he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 8.1 seconds remaining and Bookert rebounded to preserve Florida State's two-point lead.

A straightaway jumper from Rathun-Mayes, the ACC's second-leading rookie scorer, gave Florida State a 54-53 lead with 53.4 seconds remaining, and Bookert closed with a pair of free throws to end the scoring with 6 seconds to go.

Fourth-year Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory dropped to 18-47 in the ACC as his team lost another close game.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow," Gregory said. "There's no doubt about it."

Smith, who left the game with 3:31 remaining after appearing to injure his left leg, returned for the final 49 seconds. He said his leg "shifted out of place" as he and Jackets forward Robert Sampson bumped into each other, but Smith was confident that the injury isn't serious.

He was more pleased that the Seminoles, who were outscored 19-4 on turnovers and 33-22 in the paint, were successful after losing at home to No. 4 Duke to last Monday.

"We were all upset about losing a close game to Duke," Smith said. "We just wanted to play well and we got the win."

Georgia Tech, which blew a 10-point lead with 5:07 remaining to lose Wednesday at Virginia Tech, was ahead by five with 3:31 left in the game, but failed to score the rest of the way, missing five shots from the field.

The Jackets began the game by missing nine of its first 11 shots from the field, but they were up by two after Georges-Hunt hit a pair of free throws with 6:05 left in the first.

Rathan-Mayes, though, hit a jumper in the final minute that closed a 16-5 run and gave Florida State a nine-point lead at halftime.


TIP-INS

Florida State: Devon Bookert was coming off a career-high 23 points in the Duke loss, but finished with seven points. Bookert, who was 8 for 11 on 3-point attempts in his previous three games, went 1 for 4 beyond the arc. He didn't mind, though, after the Seminoles held off the Jackets.

"We felt we had a good effort (against Duke)," Bookert said. "But to come here on the road and win is big for us."

Georgia Tech: In nine of their 11 conference losses, the Jackets have been in a one- or two-possession game with 1 minute or less left in regulation. Ten of their ACC defeats have come by seven points or less.

"Our guys fought," Gregory said. "That's what we do, and we've just got to keep doing it."

UP NEXT

Florida State: Hosts Boston College on Wednesday.

Georgia Tech: Hosts Clemson on Monday.

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