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Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Brice Johnson posted 18 points and 14 rebounds as 15th-ranked North Carolina kept up its strong recent play with a 78-74 victory over Florida State. Marcus Paige added 19 points and Justin Jackson put up 14 in the Tar Heels ninth triumph in their last 10 outings. North Carolina (16-4, 6-1 ACC) will take a five-game win streak into a difficult upcoming stretch against Syracuse, Louisville and No. 2 Virginia. I think we are getting tougher and tougher every day, said Tar Heels center Kennedy Meeks, who finished with 12 points. We have a lot of guys out, so we are just trying to bring it together, really grind it out in practice and focus on what Coach (Roy Williams) is saying. Florida State (10-10, 2-5) hung tough for most of the afternoon, with Xavier Rathan-Mayes career-high 35 points keeping the Seminoles in it, before ultimately being dealt its fourth loss in its last five in ACC play. Though the Tar Heels were in front most of the way, their lead was just 67-63 with under five minutes remaining after Rathan-Mayes knocked down jumpers on consecutive possessions. The teams then traded free throws before North Carolina began to draw clear down the stretch. Jackson tipped in a Paige miss and J.P. Tokoto followed with a successful midrange shot after Rathan-Mayes missed a 3-point try, with the basket extending the lead to 71-63 with 2:57 to go. Florida State came up empty on its next four trips down the court as well, and the margin was 10 when Meeks scored inside for UNC with 46 seconds left. Defensively, we did everything we could to try to keep the ball out of the post, Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton said. There were a couple of occasions where they threw it over the top and got some easy buckets. I thought those two things are where we fell short. Rathan-Mayes buried a trio of 3-pointers thereafter, however, with the final one trimming FSUs deficit to 75-72 before Paige helped seal the outcome by making a pair of foul shots with 16 seconds to play. He was a difficult guy for us to guard, Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams said of Rathan-Mayes. Sometimes hed come off the screen and a big guy would be there, and the next time he would refuse a screen and beat a defender back to the basket. The Tar Heels opened up a 21-12 advantage nearing the midway mark of the first half after Paige scored the final five points of a 9-1 run, and the differential was 11 points when Tokotos bucket with five minutes left in the period put North Carolina up by a 30-19 count. Florida State then began to heat up offensively, hitting three straight shots to finish off a 12-3 spurt. The last of those makes, a 3-pointer from Devon Bookert, pulled the Seminoles within 33-31 prior to Jacksons jumper in the final minute that sent North Carolina into the break ahead by four. A 6-0 stretch staked the Tar Heels to a 54-45 lead with under 10 1/2 minutes remaining, and owned a 63-54 edge until another Booker trey ignited a 7-2 FSU flurry. Game Notes Rathan-Mayes previous career high was 26 points, set against the Citadel on Nov. 25 ... Johnson finished 7-of-9 from the field ... Tar Heels guard Nate Britt, questionable coming into the game after he sustained a lacerated lip that required 15 stitches in Wednesdays win at Wake Forest, did play and scored four points in 14 minutes ... North Carolina improved to 10-0 when Jackson scores in double figures ... The Tar Heels improved to 19-4 all-time against Florida State in Chapel Hill and have won five straight overall in the series. Tommylee Lewis Jersey . Durant had 33 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, hit the tying 3-pointer late in regulation and made the go-ahead foul shots in overtime to lift the Thunder past the Wizards 106-105. John Wall missed a driving layup attempt at the buzzer for Washington, which was seeking its third straight win. Dan Arnold Jersey .C. -- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has been ruled out for Sundays game against the Atlanta Falcons. http://www.cheapsaintsjerseyssale.com/? ... ersey-sale. Raymond, 31, started 15 regular-season games for the Stamps in 2013, racking up 51 tackles. He also returned two kickoffs for 79 yards including a 61-yarder. Chris Banjo Jersey . The Blue Jackets play Thursday night at New Jersey in their first game after the NHLs Olympic hiatus. A native of Trencin, Slovakia, Gaborik has represented his country at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics but was unable to play in Sochi because of his injury. Mitchell Loewen Jersey . Austin Watson, Scott Ford, Filip Forsberg and Mark Van Guilder had the other goals for the Admirals (30-21-12). Scott Darling made 30 saves for his 10th win of the season.Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the tactics of coaches Mike Tomlin and Jason Kidd, the strategy of the Raptors Rudy Gay, and the glow of victory in Saskatchewan. Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who jumped out of the way just in time to avoid a thumbs down. Tomlins Steelers were down 13-7 to the Ravens Thursday night when Baltimores Jacoby Jones took off on a kick return that was interrupted just enough by a certain Steelers head coach nonchalantly watching himself on the Jumbotron as he strayed onto the edge of the field. Tomlin leaped out of the way just in time; Jones had to change direction just enough that he was tackled. Tomlin grinned like the Cheshire Cat. Pittsburgh didnt win, but come on. There are lots of ways to sort of cheat, but using the Jumbotron as a rearview mirror? Timing your jump out of the way? Thumbs up to sort of cheating with style. Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Jason Kidd, the struggling rookie coach with the Brooklyn Nets, who cant seem to do anything right in his first year removed from playing the game. Kidds nets cant win games but at least give him points for creativity: the other night he was out of timeouts late against the Los Angeles Lakers and while standing in front of the bench, quietly asked one of his players to bump him so he could inadvertently spill his soft drink on the court. The ploy worked. Sort of. He got his stoppage. But the NBA, lacking a sense of humour afterwards, and a sense of pity for the overmatched coach, fined Kidd $50,000.dddddddddddd Maybe, in this season gone wrong, they should have looked the other way, applauding him for his guile. Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Because there is no "I" in either the word "stat" or "sheet," my thumb is up to Raptors forward Rudy Gay, who has banned those offending stat sheets from the post-game locker room. Gay says the only stat that matters is the "W." This is true - as long as, say, youre not trying to negotiate a contract. Anyway, this selfless stand is worthy of applause, unlike Gays shot selection and shooting efficiency. If his teammates could peruse the stats immediately after a game, they might note that Gay, shooting 38 percent on the season, has had games of 6-for-23 and 11-for-37. Gays right. Nothing to see here. Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to Saskatchewan - to the province, to the people, to the football fans, to the football team. The Grey Cup was their celebration, and for the rest of the country, it was a reminder of what sports can do to inspire, to enthuse, to make life better or just to make life seem better. It has long been said of the Saskatchewan Roughriders that theyre the favourite team of some CFL fans and the second-favourite team of all the others. Their Grey Cup victory and the reaction to it explained that for anyone who wasnt sure why the team in green was so easy to root for - you just had to watch last Sunday and look at the faces - in the crowd and under the watermelons and inside the helmets and you understood. We havent seen a sports story told so well by pictures alone in a long time. 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