Mills, Polite lead Florida State to 89-76 win over NC State

Mar 5, 2022, 12:38 AM | Updated: 3:01 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Caleb Mills returned from a five-game absence and scored 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, redshirt senior Anthony Polite had his first career double-double and Florida State never trailed as the Seminoles beat N.C. State 89-76 on Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.

Polite finished with 13 points, a career-high tying 10 rebounds and two steals. Matthew Cleveland and John Butler scored 11 points apiece for Florida State (17-13, 10-10 ACC). Tanor Ngom added 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Terquavion Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers 41 seconds apart to make it 6-6 before Mills made a layup to spark an 11-4 spurt that gave the Seminoles the lead for good. About 10 minutes later, Jalen Warley made a 3-pointer and followed it up with a steal and layup for a 39-27 lead. The Wolfpack trailed by at least nine points throughout the second half.

Smith made 5 of 10 from 3-point range and finished with 30 points for N.C. State (11-19, 4-15). Jericole Hellems, who also hit five 3s, added 21 points, seven rebounds and two blocks and Dereon Seabron had 17 points and five assists. Seabron shot 3 of 12 from the field but made 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.

RayQuan Evans had five points, five rebounds and a career-high 10 assists for the Seminoles.

Florida State has won three consecutive games after losing seven of its previous eight while battling the injury bug. Polite missed Florida State’s final seven games in February before returning to the starting lineup and scoring 12 points in Wednesday’s victory over Notre Dame. Cleveland missed the 74-70 win over the Irish due to illness and Cam’Ron Fletcher suffered a season-ending thumb injury in the second half against the Irish.

Mills, who hadn’t played since suffering an ankle injury against North Carolina on Feb. 7, limped to the bench before missing the final 3-plus minutes. Reports after the game indicated that the injury is not serious.

N.C. State, which has lost 10 of its last 11, finished last in the 15-team ACC and plays No. 10 seed Clemson in the opening round of next week’s conference tournament.

Eighth-seeded Florida State, which earned a first-round bye, plays No. 9 seed Syracuse in Wednesday’s second round.

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Mills, Polite lead Florida State to 89-76 win over NC State