No. 16 Florida State took their 5-game winning streak into Atlanta and came up empty, falling 76-65 versus Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon. FSU committed 20 turnovers and shot just 3-of-14 from beyond the arc.
Junior RaiQuan Gray led the way with 19 points, 8 boards, a block and 3 steals. Florida State drops to 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC for the season.
After the game, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton and Gray both spoke with the media. Here is the full transcript:
Quotes from Leonard Hamilton
Opening statement: “I thought today was one of those games where when you look back at the first half and you hold a team to 38-percent field goal percentage, 16-percent from three against a team that shoots the ball as well as they do. You would think you were supposed to be ahead. But today our offensive execution was as probably poor as it has been all year. The ball didn’t move. I thought we over-dribbled. We didn’t get the normal kickout threes, the normal penetration, the normal ball reversals…Defensively, we had a hard time guarding Alvarado. Just like everybody else. He’s been on tear.
More opening statement: “We had been averaging close to 80 points a game. When you only score 60, that says a lot about where our problems were in the game. You have to give Georgia Tech a lot of credit. They played so many teams very close. I think they had a one-possession game with Louisville and Virginia, and it was a close game against Duke. Today they came home, and were much more determined than we were. They outplayed us, they gutted it out. You have to take you hat off and give a lot of credit to Wright and Alvarado for stepping up and doing their job offensively. We just did not have it going tonight offensively, and there in lies the loss. That will happen in the ACC. If you are not ready to play every night, this is what it feels like.”
On turnovers today for FSU offensively: “They are the number two team in the league in steals. It wasn’t like that wasn’t in the scouting report. It wasn’t like we didn’t work on it all week. It wasn’t like our guys didn’t expect that to happen. Tonight, it was just one of those games where they were a lot more effective in creating those turnovers than we were in taking care of the ball. Sometimes it’s not so much about what you didn’t do, sometimes the other team just outplays you in the second half. They were a lot closer to being who they were. Forcing turnovers, getting steals, getting to their strong hands, finishing at the basket. You gotta congratulate them and move on. Learn from this game. Hopefully we will be a lot better as a result of it. You want to win all of your games, but I doubt that we were going to go undefeated. I am just hoping that this is a loss that we will learn from as opposed to losing our confidence, which I don’t think we will.”
On if M.J. Walker or other players were pressing offensively: “This didn’t have anything to do with M.J. The entire team…we normally make close to 230 passes a game. We were way, way down. We didn’t move the ball well enough. It was like we were stepping mud. We were just not as efficient as we have been. I don’t think we got amnesia, I don’t think we forgot how to play, I just think that this afternoon Georgia Tech did a much better job playing to who they were than we did. We came up a little short today. I like to think that we will go back and correct this, and hopefully get back to who we have been the last several games. I told the guys…naturally it is disappointing. But we have to go back and evaluate the film, see where our shortcomings were and correct them, and move back to where we have been. I can be nitpicking and say it was this or it was this person, it was this player, it was this mistake. Tonight, I just thought that we were very inefficient, and we have not been that way. We have had excellent offensive execution, but this afternoon was not one of them.”
On the current stretch of road games: “When you lose a game, you can overanalyze this, say it’s being on the road. You can come up with a lot of different things that you can just try to analyze. The bottom line is we just got outplayed. This team executed their offense. They were patient. They drove the ball, they got to the free throw line, they hit their free throws. Much better than we did. We have the depth, we have the energy, we have the athletes, and we have the skill. Today we just came up short. But for whatever reason, our offensive execution was really I thought was so poor, that it spilled over and kind of drained us on the defensive end. Now I am speculating because I haven’t watched the tape.
“I don’t know how many opportunities we had at the rim that we didn’t finish. We had layups, we had tip-ins, we had put-backs early in the game that we did not get. We didn’t get the number of transition kick-aheads that we normally get. We were just lethargic. We were not as sharp offensively. I thought that that really, really hurt us on the defensive end. If we had gotten some of those easy baskets that we normally get, then I think it would’ve energized us a little bit more and we would’ve had more pep on the defensive end. I thought that they drove to the ball, got to the foul line, hit their free throws, and had the right style of game that created problems for us. We turned the ball over 20 times. I don’t think we got very much out of our defense tonight. We normally get some steals and deflections. They kept us out of transition by taking care of the ball. You have to give them credit for executing their game plan.”
On the defense tonight: “When you hold someone to 38-percent, normally you would think that you would be ahead. But our offense was so inefficient in this particular game, that we didn’t capitalize on the good defense that we were playing. I think that is fixable.”
Quotes from RaiQuan Gray
On Georgia Tech’s defense: “I think we shot ourselves in the foot. We kind of reverted back to not moving the ball well, and got kind of slow. Not being who we are. They played great defense obviously, but I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot in that area also. We are definitely a better offensive team than we showed tonight. I think that we let the turnovers early kind of affect our aggression. We just have to move forward and learn from it.”
On ball movement: “When you’re dribbling, they’re set, they can kind of watch and be in their shell. I kind of caught myself over-dribbling throughout the game. It is on all of us. Like I said, we are a better team than that. We haven’t been doing that in the past, and we need to get back to sharing the ball. That is not who we are.”
On why FSU struggled tonight moving the ball: “I think we struggled just not being locked in. We didn’t focus on the defense they were in. They changed up their defense a few times and we stayed in some sets that probably would have worked better for zone, and they were playing man. We just have to execute what the coaches call and be on our toes. They switched up their defense tonight and kind of threw us off a bit. We are definitely a better team. Once we get back to executing, we will be on the right track.”
On FSU not losing confidence: “Most definitely. We have high character guys in our locker room. We have a great coaching staff. They are going to prepare us for the next game against Boston College. We are going to move forward. We can’t do anything about what is in the past. We lost this game and we didn’t play our best. We know that we are a better team. As long as we stay positive, lock in and focus I think we will bounce back. Every time we lose a game, we bounce back with multiple wins in a row. I think we will be prepared Tuesday night.”
On what they can learn from the loss: “We have to get organized quicker. Offense and defense. They did a great job in transition of pushing the ball. On defense they switched up like I said before. We just have to do a better job of getting organized quicker so that we can have the full shot clock. Communicating on the floor and on the bench.”