by Bill from Tampa
As was the case against Cleveland State the night before, Florida State had
a chance to pull out a win with the last shot in regulation. Only this time the game did end after forty minutes but the outcome was the same. Toney Douglas’ wild three pointer with just a second left missed badly sending the Seminoles down to defeat to South Florida by the score of 68-67.
The ‘Noles had just held the Bulls scoreless for nearly a minute when confusion reigned at the end for FSU. Jason Rich had thirty seconds earlier made his only basket of the game to pull FSU to within one point. But after the defensive stand with seven seconds remaining, Douglas who rebounded the ball hesitated to bring the ball up. The Seminoles had a timeout left to use but no one seemed sure whether to call the timeout then or call it when the ball was in the frontcourt. Douglas eventually raced the ball up the floor and launched a three from just across the timeline just before the buzzer sounded.
On that play Leonard Hamilton said after the game that communication at the end was to blame. “We knew we needed to call that timeout but we had a miscommunication.”
Florida State struggled with the Bulls throughout the entire game playing catch up for most of it. The ‘Noles held four leads but only briefly as USF would quickly answer back.
Still FSU did a good job to come back from 11 points down early in the second half. But every time the ‘Noles made a run at the lead mistakes either on defense or often unforced turnovers allowed the Bulls to fend off the Tribe.
Hamilton said afterwards, “Ever time we got close we made poor decisions.”
The head coach also pointed to defense, in particular the defense at the arc where USF was a scorching 11-18, as a cause for the loss. “It was not a night where we defended well from the perimeter. That has as much to do with the outcome as anything.”
Many of the three pointers USF took were uncontested. That certainly had to be a topic of conversation in the extended locker room post game talk
Several other factors troubled Hamilton notably the inability to get to the free throw line where FSU was just 4-5 from the stripe.
And as has been the case this season, the lack of an inside game continues to plague the team. The four post player combined for just 19 points with most of Uche Echefu’s points coming from ten to twelve foot jump shots. Noting Jesus Verdejo’s defense on Isaiah Swann the coach said “That should stretch the defense to open up the inside game. But we were still unable to get it inside. We need to find a way to attack inside.”
Leading the way for FSU was Ralph Mims with 16 points. Both Swann and Douglas added 15 with eight of Swann’s points coming in the first 3:40 of the game. After that Verdejo made it slightly tougher for the senior guard to score.
Kentrell Gransberry, the leading scorer and rebounder for USF led the way with 21 points and 8 boards. Hamilton complimented Ryan Reid’s second half defense on Gransberry in holding him to just 7 points.
In the first half USF led by as many as nine points. But increased intensity on both ends of the floor got FSU back to within two, 32-30. With a chance to tie or take the lead, Douglas shot from the left corner missed and ended up in Gransberry’s hands. The quick outlet pass saw the ‘Noles caught under their own basket that gave USF a four on one break.
Poor transition defense gave USF another wide open three.
Two free throws closed out a 7-0 run to end the half and the ‘Noles trailed 39-30 at the break.
In the second half after getting down 41-30 early, the Seminoles worked their way back to take 48-47 lead at the 12:30 mark on a layup by Mims. That lead lasted 35 seconds.
FSU managed to tie it at 54 apiece four minutes later on Reid’s offensive putback. Again the Bulls answered this time with a 5-0 run.
The Seminoles would get it to within one point six more times only to be held off by USF. Missed opportunities plagued FSU such as Mims steal taking it the distance only to miss the layup.
With the score 66-65 and just one minute left and just after Gransberry air balled two free throws, Swann had the ball and leaped to take a three pointer. Verdejo apparently disrupted him enough and Swann made a poor choice in passing the ball across the court. Chris Howard picked the pass off and was fouled. His two free throws made it 68-65 with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
That was followed by the chaos at the end and FSU falling to 3-2 on the season.
On a positive note, Swann did dish out 8 assists and both Reid and Casaan Breeden pulled down 7 boards.
Tuesday the Seminoles will travel home to the Donald L. Tucker Center to regroup against Georgia State. Tip off is at 7:00 PM. The game will be aired on FSN.