Fans storm the court in Tallahassee on Saturday after Florida State upset No. 3 North Carolina, 90-57, for the Seminoles’ biggest win of the year.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Deividas Dulkys’ childhood dream came true Saturday. And you couldn’t blame him if he might have believed it had been a dream.
The senior Florida State guard scored a career-high 32 points and was 8 of 10 from 3-point range to key the Seminoles’ 90-57 victory against No. 3 North Carolina that snapped a nine-game winning streak and was the Tar Heels’ worst loss under coach Roy Williams.
“Every little kid has a dream when you’re playing on a big stage like I did today,” Dulkys said. “I guess (Saturday) was my day.”
And that was an understatement.
Dulkys, a native of Lithuania whose previous career-high was 22 points, was 12 of 14 from the field overall and added four steals and a blocked shot. His eight 3s were a Florida State record in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
“We tried to keep him from scoring if we could but he just kept getting so open and our guys were running into screens,” Williams said. “It was a great performance shooting the basketball.”
It was an unexpected turnabout for a Florida State team that lost, 79-59, at Clemson just a week ago and came into Saturday’s game with the poorest 3-point shooting mark in the conference at 30.2 percent.
But behind Dulkys, the Seminoles hit 12 of 27 from long distance while the
Tar Heels were simply off while
playing on the road for the first time in six weeks. North Carolina made only 9 of 20 free throws and were beaten 43-35 on the boards despite Tyler Zeller’s 14 rebounds. North Carolina had not been beaten on the boards in its previous seven games.
Micahel Snaer added 17 points and Okaro White contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles.
Dulkys said he made 28 straight from beyond the 3-point arc while warming up earlier in the day with the help of two student managers who took care of rebounding the shots.
“He shoots this well every day in practice,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He’s had a difficult time transferring that to the game. Sometimes when he misses that first shot, he gets a little tight.”
The Seminoles (11-6, 2-1) started the second half on a 30-8 run to take a 66-36 lead en route to handing North Carolina its most lopsided conference loss since a 96-56 defeat at Maryland in 2003, the season before Williams took over. Harrison Barnes scored 15 points and Zeller added 14 for North Carolina (15-3, 2-1), which finished 4 of 21 from 3-point range.
Williams took his team — except for five walk-ons who finished the game — from the court with 14.2 seconds left in expectation of the court-storming by the Florida State fans.
“We just tried to be cautious,” Williams explained. “It’s been shown that’s it not always been safe in some scenarios.”
Hamilton said he had suggested Williams remove the players as a precaution.
The Seminoles never trailed after Dulkys’ first 3-pointer 43 seconds into the game.
Florida State led by as many as 12 points in the first half, grabbing a 31-19 lead on Dulkys’ fourth 3-pointer with 7:35 remaining and then again with 6:08 left on Bernard James’ riveting dunk on a put back. The 6-foot-10 James, who had six rebounds in the early going, drew his second foul just 5 seconds later and sat the rest of the half.
Dulkys was 6 of 7 from the field in the first half, including 4 of 5 from 3-point distance.
North Carolina had reeled off nine straight wins during a 35-day home stand, shoring up on defense and rebounding that contributed to early season losses to UNLV and Kentucky. But those deficiencies returned to haunt Williams’ club in a big way Saturday.
“Princeton’s defense must be a hell of a lot better than ours,” Williams said. “They can hold them to 10 points in a half and we give up 8,000.”
It was the first win of the season over a ranked team for Florida State, which returned nine key players from last season’s team that advanced to the NCAA’s regional finals.