WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — Florida State's players have finally figured out that it takes more than scoring to win games — it takes a little defense, as well.
That newfound defensive mindset carried the Seminoles to their fourth straight ACC victory Saturday, pulling away in the second half to beat Wake Forest 91-71.
Malik Beasley scored 16 points to lead five Florida State players in double figures, as the Seminoles (16-7, 6-5 ACC) posted their longest conference winning streak since the 2011-2012 season when they won the ACC Tournament.
"We stepped up on defense," Beasley said. "Early in the season, we were definitely inconsistent. But we came together as a team, and learned that we need to play defense to win. Like the 2012 ACC champs team, we have to play defense and we've done really well with that — putting pressure on the ball and helping each other, making extra effort to do that."
Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Montay Brandon added 13 points each, and Dwayne Bacon and Boris Bojanovsky had 11 each for Florida State.
Cornelius Hudson scored 17 points, Devin Thomas had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Bryant Crawford 13 and Codi Miller-McIntyre 12 for Wake Forest (10-13, 1-10), which lost its eighth-straight game.
Still, the Seminoles had their problems early against the Deacons, battling through 15 lead changes and five ties in the first half before a late run gave them a 37-33 edge at the break.
Wake Forest — fighting to stay out of the bottom of the ACC standings — led by as many as four points twice, the last at 33-29 with 1:58 remaining on two free throws by Thomas, only to see Florida State close out the half with an 8-0 run.
Beasley hit a 3-pointer and layup, the latter giving the Seminoles the lead with 1:14 left in the half, and Rathan-Mayes turned a 3-point play for a 37-33 lead at the break.
"(Deacons coach) Danny (Manning) really had his team very well prepared for everything we tried to do offensively," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We had a very difficult time getting to our spots. We could not get any sort of rhythm because of their defensive schemes.
"At the end of the half, we got some stops and were able to get out in transition. Then our depth stepped up in the second half, gave us some energy and we were able to maintain that the rest of the game."
After trailing by 10 points in the opening 97 seconds of the second half, Wake Forest mounted a comeback, tying the score at 48 on Thomas' layup with 13:47 remaining.
However, Beasley dropped in a layup 28 seconds later to put Florida State back in the lead, kicking off a 29-15 run over the next 10 minutes that pushed the Seminoles lead back to double digits.
"We have to play with more intensity, and with more attention to detail," Manning said. "If you look back, for 11 minutes in the first half, we were doing something right that worked for us. We have to continue with that same mindset the duration of the ballgame."
Florida State: Forced the Deacons into 13 turnovers, leading to 14 points. . The Seminoles also had a 37-30 rebounding edge, including a 12-6 advantage in offensive boards. That led to 19 second-chance points.
Wake Forest: Eighth straight loss is the Deacons' longest losing streak in ACC play since dropping 11 consecutive games at the end of the 2010-2011 season. . Miller-McIntyre finished with seven assists. . One bright spot for the Deacons was free-throw shooting, going 18 of 25 from the line.
Florida State guard Devon Bookert became the 44th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points with his first basket of Saturday's game.
Bookert, a senior, entered the game with 999 career points. He passed the mark by hitting a 3-pointer with 12:31 left in the first half. Bookert finished with nine points Saturday, giving him 1,008 for his career.
Florida State: Visits Syracuse on Thursday night.
Wake Forest: Visits Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.