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Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes Joins An Elite Group

Topping 30 doesn't happen very often at all, even less often by a first-year player.

Brice Johnson cut off Xavier Rathan-Mayes here, but the Florida State freshman still scored 35 against UNC.
Brice Johnson cut off Xavier Rathan-Mayes here, but the Florida State freshman still scored 35 against UNC.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Rathan-Mayes had scored 32 points in his last two games combined, a loss to N.C. State and a win at Clemson. His single-game high this season was 26 points against The Citadel in November.

So when FSU came to the Smith Center on Saturday to face the Tar Heels, there was little expectation the freshman from Ontario, Canada, was about to launch himself into the ACC record book.

The 6-3 Rathan-Mayes, son of FSU standout Tharon Mayes (1988-90), was considered a premier shooting guard entering college. His coaches, however, had different ideas. Rathan-Mayes, No. 22 in your program, is being remade into a playmaker, a sometimes-painful process for all concerned.

"I'm making strides, I'm making strides," he said at the Smith Center, his "22" gold necklace dangling outside his shirt. "Every day I'm getting better. I've got all four of my coaches in my ear having me to be that point guard for the basketball team."

Moments earlier, with the ball in his control - including a bandaged right hand skinned in practice the previous day - Rathan-Mayes mixed roles to remarkable effect. He scored 35 points against UNC, defying the best defensive efforts of J.P. Tokoto, Marcus Paige and others.

That was the highest point production by a rival at Chapel Hill since Duke's J.J. Redick tallied 35 in 2006. Only one Tar Heel opponent has exceeded the output by Rathan-Mayes and Redick, which was matched in 1986 by Maryland's Len Bias. That was Lionel Simmons of LaSalle, who had 37 points in 1988.

The building has been open since Jan. 1986.

Rathan-Mayes' 35 points tied Bob Sura for fifth-highest in an ACC game by a Florida State player since the school joined the league in 1991-92, and matched the fifth-best by any ACC freshman.

Highest Single-Game Scoring by ACC Freshmen
Player, School Total Season Opponent
Olivier Hanlan, BC 41* 2013 Georgia Tech
Harrison Barnes, NC 40* 2011 Clemson
Tyler Hansbrough, NC 40 2006 Georgia Tech
Skip Wise, C 38 1974 Pennsylvania
Ernie Myers, NCS 35 1983 Duke
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FSU 35 2015 North Carolina
J.J. Redick, D 34 2003 Virginia
Chris Williams, V 34 1999 Liberty
J.J. Hickson, NCS 33 2008 Western Carolina
* ACC Tournament.