The first half was ugly for both teams, but especially Florida State, as they struggled getting shots to fall and would eventually lose, 77-73 to visiting Miami.
The Hurricanes came out in a zone from the first whistle causing confusion on the offensive end for the Noles and it would be a snowball effect for most of the first half. Open looks just weren't falling. The Hurricanes successfully crashed the paint anytime the Seminoles attempted to make it to the rim, forcing them into jump shooters that just couldn't find their mark.
It would be Ian Miller, who has battled injury the past couple weeks, that would give the Noles a spark towards the end of the first half bringing them within reach. When Miller entered the game around the 14-minute mark, the Noles were just 5-of-15 from the field with nothing on the horizon. But Miller would quickly sink a three pointer on his way to 11 first half points giving the Noles a bit of confidence heading into the locker room.
Miami's 34 points was the highest first half total they've had all season long in ACC play, with their previous high of 30 coming against Maryland. Leonard Hamilton's trademark "junkyard" defense hasn't been much of a problem for the teams over the last couple of games. With a combination of good shooting from the opposition and confusion on the Florida State side, the Seminoles have struggled executing their strength. This is something that they'll need to get sorted out before they hit the road.
While the first half was ugly, the second half began in a similar fashion for the Noles as they would quickly turn the ball over, but the game was not yet out of reach.
The story of the second half would be Miami's timely shooting. The Noles continued to knock on the door throughout the second half, bringing it within 4 points time and time again. But those little runs were constantly answered by a jump shot on the other end of the floor by Miami, killing any momentum the Noles could muster.
While Florida State finished the game shooting 50% from the field, garbage time had a lot to do with that. Minus that garbage time, they shot closer to 43%, and only finished 7-of-20 from the arc. And Ian Miller, who had given the Noles a spark before the half, would only find the basket once more for 2 second half points. Bookert led the Noles with 17 points from the field.
The Noles entered Monday's game with hopes of the tournament, but with the Florida State loss and the West Virginia win, their journey has gone from a hill to a mountain. Their chances haven't disappeared just yet, but they'll need some help from the outside, and they have to finish strong.
The Seminoles will travel to Winston-Salem on Saturday to face the (14-9) Demon Deacons, who are coming off three straight losses.
This is a must-win for Florida State.