M.J. Walker leads Florida St.’s senior night rout of BC

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s seniors departed from their home court one final time with a resounding victory — and one game away from an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title.

Senior guard M.J. Walker scored 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and junior forward RaiQuan Gray added 16 points to help No. 11 Florida State win its 25th straight ACC home game, 93-64, over Boston College on Wednesday night.

Fifteen Seminoles played and 14 scored on a night when six seniors were honored.

“I thought this was a tremendous way to send our seniors off,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I’ve never seen so many guys cheering for each other and happy for the experience.”

Hamilton said Walker was questionable for the game as he has battled various injuries that have limited him the past few weeks. Walker, who scored his 1,000th career point last week, said he woke up determined to play.

“I just toughened up, made my mind up and rolled with it,” said Walker, who when he left the court one final time, he touched the Seminoles logo at half court and went to the bench to high-five and hug teammates. “A whole lot of pride behind this program. Definitely a lot of moment that I’ll never forget. That was just my little stamp on everything I put in this program and all the help that coaches have given me, teammates in the past and present to get to this point.”

Gray scored in double figures for an 11th straight game for the Seminoles (15-4, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who are in position to win the league’s regular-season title with a win at Notre Dame on Saturday.

Jay Heath scored a career-high 28 points and Makai Ashton-Langford added 14 points for BC (4-14, 2-10). Heath shot 8 of 14 from 3-point range.

But the Eagles clearly missed senior forward Steffon Mitchell, who averaged 9.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

“No excuses,” BC interim coach Scott Spinelli said. “We’ve got to continue to get better. Tonight defensively we really kind of took a step back.”

Walker scored 12 points in the first half as the Seminoles cruised to a 53-35 lead at the break and were never challenged.

The Seminoles shot 35 of 63 (55.6%) from the floor and 13 of 27 (48.1%) from 3-point range.

BC shot 22 of 60 (36.7%) and 12 of 31 (38.7% from 3-point range.

Florida State started five seniors in what was their final home game. Senior guard RayQuan Evans scored six points and because of the unique lineup the Seminoles’ bench had a 78-15 advantage over BC’s reserves.

The Seminoles are 40-12 in the ACC the last three seasons. If they can pick up No. 41 on Saturday at Notre Dame, FSU will have another banner to add to the rafters: Back-to-back ACC regular-season champions.

“Sometimes in life you don’t have a chance to compete for one championship,” Hamilton said. “We have an opportunity to compete for two, and back-to-back, in the best basketball conference ever assembled in the history of college basketball. We’re excited about this opportunity.”

SENIOR NIGHT

Florida State honored six seniors before Wednesday’s game: Walker, RayQuan Evans, Harrison Prieto, Will Miles, Justin Lindner and Travis Light. The group celebrated with the band as well as teammates and coaches before walking off the court.

“We’ve honestly just been spoiled being in this program,” Miles said. “It’s the whole culture.”

Two seniors, guard Nathanael Jack and center Tanor Ngom, are expected to return for the 2021-22 season.

TAKEAWAYS

Boston College: The Eagles were overmatched from the start and fell for the ninth time in 11 games in the series.

Florida State: The Seminoles shot 18 of 29 (62.1%) from the floor in the first half on their way to building a considerable lead and taking their 11th double-digit victory.

UP NEXT

Boston College plays at Miami on Friday

Florida State plays at Notre Dame on Saturday

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