M.J. Walker shook off an in-game ankle injury and RaiQuan Gray made the big plays late to lead host Florida State to an 82-75 victory over North Carolina on Saturday in Tallahassee.
Walker, who finished with a game-high 21 points, left the game with 17:36 remaining in the second half after landing on a defender's foot after a jump shot and twisting his left ankle. An ankle injury had already held Florida State's Scottie Barnes out of Saturday's game.
But after a quick trip to the locker room, Walker returned and hit his fourth 3-pointer to push the Seminoles' (7-2, 3-1 ACC) lead back to 10 points with 12:01 left. Walker later helped hold off the Tar Heels (8-5, 3-3) to secure FSU's second consecutive win after a two-week layoff due to a COVID-19 case within the program.
Kerwin Walton (4-for-10), RJ Davis (2-for-3) and Caleb Love (3-for-6) paced a sharp 3-point shooting effort by North Carolina, which made 10 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Tar Heels cut FSU's lead to 74-73 with 2:22 remaining, but Gray answered with a layup and a free throw at the other end 20 seconds later, and he came up with a key steal, defensive rebound and block to help deny North Carolina points on three consecutive possessions in the final minute.
Gray finished with 19 points, five assists, three steals and four rebounds, as the Seminoles snapped the Tar Heels' three-game winning streak.
Florida State's Malik Osborne, Balsa Koprivica and RayQuan Evans each finished with 10 points.
Davis led North Carolina with 16 points and three assists off the bench, while Walton had 14 points. Garrison Brooks finished with 12 points and Love totaled 11 points, as the Tar Heels shot 43.5 percent overall and went 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.
Florida State earned more trips to the foul line and capitalized by making 26 of 27 free-throw attempts.
--Field Level Media