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Basketball Observations: Cold shooting and sub-par defense cost FSU against Boston College

Hard to win on the road when you shoot 19% from three.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State, coming off a double overtime thriller just 48 hours prior, had their worst shooting night of the season and lost to Boston College on the road 81-75.

Above the Rim:

  • Winning on the road in the ACC is hard. Really hard. There are 32 conferences in Division 1 basketball and in 2017 the ACC had the highest percentage of conference games won by the home team out of all 32. Said another way, it was the hardest conference in the country to get a road win. ACC home teams won 68.9% of conference games last year, meaning if you won 3 out of 9 road games (like FSU did) you were beating the odds. This year we are seeing much the same. Going into Monday night, ACC home teams had won 75% of league games, 3rd in the country and the best among power conferences. All that is to say, when you have an opportunity to get a road win against an improved but still beatable opponent, you have to find a way to get the job done. Yes, this was a very tough turnaround for the Seminoles, but it’s the same type of turnaround you face in the NCAAT. And the bottom line is, there are only a handful of winnable road games in ACC play and FSU just lost one of theirs.
  • Playing heavy minutes on Saturday and then the quick turnaround, it was predictable that FSU would struggle with their shooting in this one. And struggle they did. The Seminoles shot 26% from the field in the first half and 27-80 for the game, including just 5-26 from three. The 19% effort from beyond the arc was FSU’s worst output of the season. Florida State had several opportunities to cut the BC lead to 4 points down the stretch but just could not hit open shots.
  • The game was lost late in the first half. Sensing mental and physical weakness, BC used a 12-2 run to stretch the lead out to 21 just before the half. In the end, it was just too much to overcome.
  • FSU’s defense is struggling. Despite the team’s struggles from three, better defense would have likely allowed the Seminoles to walk out of Conte Forum with a hard earned victory. After starting the season by holding 10 of their first 12 opponents under 1.0 points per possession, the Seminoles have yet to do so in ACC play. Allowing Duke to score more than 1 ppp at home is one thing, but teams like Miami and Syracuse do not have great offenses. The main culprits have been not forcing enough turnovers and giving opponents too many opportunities from the free throw line. If Florida State wants to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, the guys must get back to defending like their capable.
  • Once again FSU did work on the offensive glass, grabbing nearly 40% of their misses. Unfortunately in this one, they couldn’t convert enough of the second chances into made shots, missing oodles of buckets under the basket and also unable to sink wide open looks from three on the kick-outs. Unlike many games this year, FSU also did a nice job on the defensive glass. The Seminoles corralled 88% of Boston College’s missed shots, the best performance by the Garnet and Gold this season.

Court Level:

  • Terance Mann played after missing the Syracuse game due to a concussion suffered in the Louisville loss. It was good to see him back in action, especially with his mother in the stands. And the team’s leading scorer and rebounder played the part in this one, finishing with 21 and 9. Unfortunately, he looked a little off his game, which is to be expected after not practicing since the injury. Shooting a remarkable 67.7% on twos coming into the game, Mann was just 8-18 in the game. If he shoots his average, the result very well may have been flipped.
  • CJ Walker got some mojo back and that will be needed as FSU tries to dig out of a 2-4 hole in league play. After scoring in double figures 5 of the first 8 games on the year (including a monster performance on the road against Rutgers), the sophomore only had one such game in the previous 9 games, including back to back goose eggs against Miami and Louisville. But against BC, Walker was aggressive from the start and repeatedly took his man off the dribble. On the night, Walker finished with 19 points on 7-13 shooting and added six assists to just one turnover.
  • M.J. Walker appears to have hit a freshman wall. Nearly all freshmen are inconsistent and Walker is no exception. But his prodigious catch and shoot ability has been on display since day one...until recently. Over 40% from three for most of the season, M.J. has made just 2 of his last 16 shots from beyond the arc. Now, he’s still giving great effort, but FSU needs him to at least be a threat from three, especially with PJ Savoy going down.
  • One of the heroes of the Syracuse game, Braian Angola looked like a guy who just played 46 minutes two nights prior. Averaging over 20 points a contest in ACC play coming into the game, Angola struggled with his shot from all over the court. He hit a few long range bombs late, but finished 6-19 from the field including just 3-10 from deep.

Looking Ahead:

The Seminoles will play at Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Hokies are the second most effective shooting team in the nation and will be coming off a seven day layoff.