- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Florida State has proven it can beat Top 25 teams. The No. 7 Seminoles just haven’t proven that anywhere yet besides their home floor.

They appeared poised to do so before surrendering a double-digit, second-half lead in a 71-63 loss Thursday to No. 17 North Carolina that snapped a nine-game win streak.

But if FSU coach Sue Semrau was frustrated by that, everything she said indicated the opposite.

“I like it for us,” said Semrau, whose team has three home wins and two road losses against ranked opponents. “We could get complacent. I’d certainly rather compete and be in a game than not.”

Allisha Gray took over the game late, scoring 13 of her 22 points in the final six minutes and adding 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels (20-5, 7-4 ACC).

Ivey Slaughter led the Seminoles (22-3, 9-2) with 15 points, but fouled out of the game with 3:33 remaining.

“When she went out, that really hurt us,” Semrau said. “We had some confusion, and that’s not like us.”

Florida State led by 10 early in the second half, but UNC fought back and eventually tied it at 57 on Gray’s 3-pointer with 4:20 remaining. That was during a stretch in which she scored eight straight points to give UNC a 62-61 lead.

Gray sealed the victory with a steal and layup with less than a minute remaining.

“She carries us lots of times,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “She can do that. She’s just that kind of player. She’s so level all the time. She’s just rock solid. She makes up her mind about something and gets it done.”

TIP-INS

Florida State: The Seminoles forced 22 UNC turnovers, marking the seventh time in their last 10 games — and 15th time this year — that an opponent has had 20 or more turnovers. The Tar Heels came in averaging their fewest turnovers per game since the 1995-96 season.

North Carolina: Stephanie Mavunga (11 points) and Brittany Rountree (10) were the only other Tar Heels in double figures. Forward Hillary Summers finished with a career-high nine points off the bench, eclipsing her previous career high of six points with six minutes to go in the first half.

COURTSIDE

Before the game, North Carolina held a moment of silence to honor Hall of Fame former UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith, who died Saturday at age 83, as well as the three Muslim students who were shot and killed near campus Tuesday in a story that has garnered national attention.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

With the game tied at 59, Gray was out of control driving to the basket and crashed into FSU’s Slaughter, who spent a good portion of the second half on the bench with foul trouble. Slaughter was called for the block and fouled out with 3:33 remaining. Gray gave the Tar Heels the lead for good 27 seconds later.

UP NEXT

Florida State: visits Virginia on Sunday.

North Carolina: visits Louisville on Sunday.


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