Thursday, July 31st, 2014

FSU Punched in the Face By Clemson

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If you were an FSU basketball fan and had something else to do or just wanted to spend the early afternoon outside and missed Florida State’s game against Clemson, you were probably glad you did.

If you did watch it, you were probably wondering why you did as FSU got off to one of THOSE kinds of starts falling behind the Tigers 17-4 just 6:10 into the game en route to a 62-44 pasting at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Seminoles could not have done much more wrong in the loss. They were outhustled, outworked, outrebounded, outshot 38% to 32%, was at one point 0-10 from three point land finishing 4-17, made little attempt to drive the lane, and made even less of an attempt to move without the ball.

The ‘Noles did lead Clemson in one key statistic however. Turnovers, 23-17 to be exact racking up 15 by halftime.

“To tell you the truth, we lost this game in practice last week”, Leonard Hamilton said afterwards. “We were lethargic and didn’t handle being the hunted.”

“Monday’s practice was great. Tuesday was nowhere near as good. Wednesday was worse and I was not very happy with Thursday’s.”

Clemson started off on fire connecting on three straight three pointers, two unlikely ones by Devin Booker.

Booker added a slam dunk in transition at the 12:29 to give Clemson a 19-6 lead before the Seminole defense finally got on track. It was the last basket the Tigers would score in the half while FSU clawed its way into single digits down 27-18 at intermission.

And then the second half began.

Demontez Stitt scored five straight points and Tanner Smith added a three from the right corner to build the lead to 35-18.

Meanwhile FSU players were showing they were still not on the same page when Derwin Kitchen thought he was throwing a pass to Michael Snaer out on the left wing who instead was rotating up above the key and the pass sailed into the sideline seats.

It all disintegrated into a 54-27 disadvantage with 6:38 to play. And if you as an FSU fan were still watching, the question would have been why.

The lack of effort from the ‘Noles was painfully clear almost immediately.

“We’re a much better team than we showed today”, Hamilton said. “But on offense we stood around and watched.”

“Clemson hit us in the face, backed us on our heels and we didn’t respond very well.”

Not one Seminole was in double figures. Bernard James who had a decent game all things considered and Chris Singleton who didn’t in part due to picking up two early fouls each had eight points.

It is clear that as Kitchen goes so goes the Seminoles. And with just six points and one assist to five turnovers for the senior FSU didn’t go very far.

Not that it was all Kitchen’s fault for the abysmal effort displayed, it was a team effort.

But one play by Kitchen summed up the casual attitude of the team. In the first half, Jon Kreft had his shot blocked into the backcourt. Kitchen jogged over to the ball but nearly didn’t grab it as a diving Clemson player who was nowhere near the ball almost got there first.

Added Hamilton, “It was evident they outplayed us in every aspect of the game today. We didn’t show the determination of what it takes to win on the road in the ACC.”

Had FSU won the game it would have been the best start in FSU’s history in the ACC at 6-1. Instead the Seminoles fall to 15-6, 5-2 and out of a tie for first place in the conference.

Florida State returns home for a Tuesday night encounter with the cellar dweller of the conference, Wake Forest. Improved play would be seem to be required as a loss to the 254th ranked team in the RPI standings would be a serious blow to FSU’s NCAA tournament aspirations when coupled with the loss to Auburn. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM and will not be televised.

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