An ugly win is better than a pretty loss
Posted by BillFromTampa
As the Seminoles were floundering around on offense missing basket after basket but still well within striking range thanks to free throw shooting, the comment from the TV announcers was “Florida State can win an ugly game”.
It was …. and they did …. beating the Miami Hurricanes in what came down to the final shot of the game, 55-53.
After missing their first ten shots not making their first basket of the game, a slam dunk by Terrance Shannon, until the 10:10 mark and committing eight turnovers, FSU trailed by just two points, 11-9.
It got uglier though as Miami went on a 13-3 run to lead 24-12.
FSU chipped away and an offensive put back by Chris Singleton closed the score to 31-24 at the half.
The ‘Noles shot an abysmal 19% from the floor in the first period. The only thing keeping FSU in the game to that point was FT shooting connecting on 14 of 18.
Michael Snaer and Bernard James combined for 11 points in the first eight minutes to pull FSU to within one, 40-39.
It would be the first of three occasions where the ‘Noles were within one point and could not overtake Miami.
Except for the third time that must have been the charm.
Derwin Kitchen scored his first points of the game on a hard to the rim drive from the right side for the layup and a 49-48 FSU lead, its first of the game, with 5:33 to play.
Kitchen added a three wide open from the left wing a minute later to give FSU a 52-48 lead.
The Seminole defense did its job the rest of the way in allowing the ‘Canes to score just one basket and five points over the last 6:45.
It was that last basket however, a three from Malcolm Grant with 42 seconds left closing the score to 55-53 that made it “interesting”.
The Seminoles had its chances from the free throw line to close out Miami, but as good as they were in the first half (14 of 1 they were equally bad in the second connecting on just 2 of 12. Singleton, Kitchen, and James combined to miss six straight from the stripe in the last minutes and seconds of the game.
After James clanged two off the iron with 10 seconds left, Durand Scott raced down the floor from the left side for a contested layup that never had a chance of going in. The rebound made its way to Grant on the right wing but his three hit iron as the buzzer sounded and somehow the ‘Noles came away with the win.
Thankfully for Florida State fans the referees decided to swallow their whistles as there was plenty of contact.
“All I can say is I’m glad to get out of here with a victory”, said Leonard Hamilton afterwards. “We all know we did not play very well, but give credit to Miami, they made us play that way.”
“We found a way to make plays.”
“We did defend well … that is the only positive I can say”, added Hamilton.
As expected Miami utilized a zone defense for much of the game and it stymied the Seminoles. That was not unexpected by FSU who, according to Hamilton, practiced against the zone all week.
FSU ended up shooting 32%, not bad considering the horrid start to the game, and held Miami to 34%.
Just one player was in double figures for the ‘Noles. Shannon scored 10 with all but two coming in the first half. But everyone who played got into the scorebook.
FSU finished the game 16 of 30 from the charity stripe.
When informed of the 2-12 free throws in the second half Hamilton said, “that is really lighting it up.”
Clearly as the game went on the Seminoles pulled themselves together after the shaky start improving their shot selection and taking care of the ball. The ‘Noles shot 46% in the second period and had just three turnovers over the last 30 minutes.
“I’m just glad we could play poorly and come away with the win”, a relieved Hamilton commented.
With the win FSU remains in a tie atop the ACC with Duke and Boston College at 14-5, 4-1.
That makes Saturday’s game in Tallahassee a critical game in the conference race as FSU hosts Boston College. Tip off is at 7 PM and the will be aired on ESPNU.