by Bill from Tampa
What began as a promising start just like Leonard Hamilton envisioned,
quickly evaporated as Georgia Tech went on an
18-4 run taking a lead the Jackets would never relinquish on its way to an 88-80 win over the visiting Seminoles.
The Noles’ pressure defense forced four Tech turnovers giving FSU eight points all in transition in the first four minutes while Tech was stuck on zero. The tide quickly turned however and FSU was the team now being pressured and began turning the ball over.
Jaravis Crittenten’s back to back three point plays on breakaways capped the18-4 run over the next four minutes and Tech never looked back.
It was a frustrated Hamilton as he reflected on the 18 total turnovers by his team. Calling it “a comedy out there” he added the number of mistakes made “would do most any team in.'
But as has been the case before this season it was the unforced miscues that irritated the FSU head coach. “I don’t know that they (Tech) had anything to do with it. We invented different ways to turn the ball over tonight,” he commented.
In a stretch in the second half that would qualify as very bad comedy saw FSU turn the ball over on seven straight possessions. Given that horrendous stretch it was amazing that the Noles weren’t down more as Tech scored only a handful of points during that period.
Crittenten led all scorers with 23 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Tech head coach Paul Hewitt posted up his freshman guard taking advantage of FSU’s smaller guards. The result was Crittenten making all five of his shots inside the arc.
Mario West who provided a spark late in the second half with his free throw shooting (9-13) added 18. Anthony Morrow who seems to enjoy playing the Seminoles scored 17 connecting on all three of his attempts from behind the arc. Thaddeus Young was also in double figures with 14.
As a team the Jackets shot 54% from the floor and 47% three pointers (10-21).
That kind of defense was another sore spot for Hamilton. “There was a period our defense did not play down and dirty. We did not stick with our defensive principles on five of their three point shots. That’s 15 points we gave away.”
Offensively FSU shot the ball well connecting on 51% including 8 of 16 three pointers. Toney Douglas led FSU with 22 points with 7 assists however his 5 turnovers stood out. Al Thornton scored 20 along with 6 rebounds. Uche Echefu added 14 points.
As FSU fans have seen before, the Noles got down by double digits three quarters of the way thru the first half and then had a spurt to close the gap. A 9-2 run made the score 35-22 with five minutes left. Three pointers each by Isaiah Swann, Jason Rich, a basket by Jerel Allen, and two free throws brought FSU to within four at 38-34.
Also, as FSU fans have seen before this season the momentum of the comeback disappeared when Morrow canned a three right before the buzzer to give Tech a 41-34 lead.
FSU held its own with the Jackets for the first four minutes of the second half trading baskets and trailing 46-40. And then the wheels completely fell off as the Seminoles could not stop giving the ball away on every possession over the next four minutes.
Thornton ended the drought and FSU almost stunningly trailed only 54-43 despite all the errors.
But the closest FSU could get was 63-57 at the 7:35 mark when a steal resulted in a layup by Swann.
The backbreaker occurred on Tech’s next possession. With the shot clock about to run out, Crittenten nailed a prayer of a three while falling down. Young followed with a layup and Ra'Sean Dickey stole a pass finished off by a Crittenton layup.
With Tech now leading 70-57, the game degraded into a free throw shooting contest with a combined 25 attempts to just three total baskets. That was obviously not going to allow FSU to catch up, especially when the Noles committed back to back fouls while the Jackets were attempting three point shots.
FSU never got closer than the final margin only when a flurry of baskets at the end made the game appear closer than the score indicated.
The 12-5, 0-3 Seminoles return to Tallahassee to face Virginia Tech, which defeated #1 North Carolina on Saturday in addition to beating Duke earlier this season. Tip off is at 7:00 PM and there is no TV for this game.