PITTSBURGH (AP) — Florida State is way more than leading scorer M.J. Walker.
Raiquan Gray had 16 points and eight rebounds, and the 16th-ranked Seminoles beat Pittsburgh 79-72 on Saturday for their third straight win.
Florida State (13-3, 9-2 ACC) led for more than 35 minutes, but never by more than 11 points. Malik Osborne had 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. RayQuan Evans also scored 12 points, and Scottie Barnes had 11.
Pitt (9-9, 5-8) was able to shut down Walker, who finished 0 for 5 with no points, but Florida State’s depth was too much for the Panthers. Nine Florida State players scored four points or more. Walker remains seven points away from 1,000 for his career.
Florida State appears to be rounding into form at the right time. It has won eight of nine overall, including an 81-60 victory over No. 7 Virginia on Monday.
“I don’t think we’ve come close to reaching our potential,” Hamilton said. “That’s one of the things I like about this team.”
For the second straight season, the Seminoles seem poised to contend deep into March. They won six of their last seven last season to finish as ACC regular-season champions before the remainder of the season was canceled.
“As we keep playing, we’ll get to that point where we need to be to compete for a national championship,” Gray said.
Pitt junior Au’Diese Toney missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Toney is Pitt’s second-leading scorer and rebounder and one of Pitt’s best defenders. Senior Nike Sibande started in his place and scored a season-high 12 points. Capel did not have an update on Toney’s status after the game.
Walker, who averages 13.9 points, was held scoreless for the first time since March 23, 2019. Hamilton said he did not practice in the days leading up to the game while dealing with some “light injuries.”
“Even though he didn’t score a point, I thought his contribution defensively and his leadership on the bench was unbelievable,” Hamilton said.
Florida State continues its three-game road swing at Miami on Wednesday night. The Seminoles beat the Hurricanes 81-59 at home in January.
Pitt’s next scheduled game is Feb. 28 at North Carolina State. The Panthers had been scheduled to host Clemson on Sunday, but that game was postponed after a positive COVID-19 test in the Tigers’ program.