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Florida State basketball falls to Georgia Tech in ACC title game behind sloppy offensive performance

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‘Noles turn the ball over a season-high 25 times.

Woody Marshall

Florida State basketball fell to Georgia Tech by a score of 80-75 in the ACC Tournament Championship game tonight. The Seminoles were sloppy with the ball all night. FSU turned it over a season-high 25 times and Tech had 25 more points off turnovers than the ‘Noles. The Seminoles shot 56% from the floor, but couldn’t overcome the turnovers as the Yellow Jackets took home the trophy.

Georgia Tech got off to a running start off behind their defense. Jordan Usher stole the ball from RayQuan Evans on FSU’s first possession and took it the length of the court for a tough lay-up and the first bucket of the game. The ‘Noles turned the ball over on their next possession as the ACC defender of the year, Jose Alvarado, stole the ball from M.J. Walker, resulting in a Moses Wright dunk and an early four-point deficit.

FSU’s first four possessions resulted in turnovers. RaiQuan Gray opened the scoring for the ‘Noles with a tip-in off a Tanor Ngom missed floater. Despite having just three shots and five turnovers, the Seminoles went into the first media timeout trailing by just one thanks to an Anthony Polite triple from way downtown.

Polite gave the Seminoles their first lead of the night by getting three points the hard way. The guard rolled in a tough lay-up while being fouled and knocked down a free throw to give the ‘Noles a two-point lead. Florida State held a 10-8 lead at the under-12 media timeout.

Georgia Tech got their first triple from Khalid Moore nearly 10 minutes in. After Gray scored on a floater just outside the paint, he picked up two quick fouls and was taken out. The Seminoles’ ninth turnover sent the game into the u-8 media timeout as FSU led by one. The ‘Noles were hitting 53.8% of their shots while GT was shooting just 31.8% from the floor, but the Yellow Jackets had turned it over just twice.

Wyatt Wilkes drained his first triple on a step back out of the timeout to push the lead to four. The Jackets responded with a triple of their own from Bubba Parham. A Parham steal on the other end led to a wide open bucket for Alvarado, giving the Jackets a one-point lead and leading to a Leonard Hamilton timeout with 4:55 left in the half.

Michael Devoe extended the lead to four with his first three-pointer. With the ‘Noles down six, Walker hit a crucial three pointer, his first of the night. Scottie Barnes tied the game up at 27, converting an and-one on a floater just outside the paint. The Seminoles took the lead back on another Barnes bucket, as he drilled a wide-open triple. Tech went into half with a 31-30 lead after a buzzer-beating lay-up from Devoe.

The Seminoles had 14 turnovers and 11 made shots in the half. Georgia Tech had 16 more points off turnovers than the Seminoles. 19 of 31 GT points came off turnovers. FSU was 52% from the floor and 4-8 from deep. The Yellow Jackets made 38% of their shots and were 3-14 from deep. Four Seminoles had 5+ points. Balsa Koprivica led the way with six points and four boards, while Barnes added six points of his own to go with three assists.

Walker got the ‘Noles off to a hot start out of the locker room. After an empty possession from GT, the senior leader knocked down his second three-pointer to retake the lead. Gray, who didn’t play the last ten minutes of the first half, slammed home a powerful dunk on the next possession. On GT’s next possession, Gray committed his third foul and got the quick hook from Hamilton. Back-to-back Koprivica buckets gave the ‘Noles a 39-35 lead at the first media timeout.

Out of the timeout, Malik Osborne extended the lead to seven with a corner triple. After back-to-back travels by the Yellow Jackets, Ngom extended the lead to nine with a dunk off an Osborne assist. But the Yellow Jackets quickly responded. A dunk from Wright and a lay-up from Usher cut the lead to five. A steal-and-score from Devoe led to a Hamilton timeout, as FSU led by three with 11:48 to go.

Barnes came up with a big offensive board and dunk out of the timeout, but GT continued to chip away at the lead. Usher hit his first triple on the next possession. Two free throws from Kyle Sturdivant tied the game at 46 with 10:45 remaining. A steal and score by Alvarado put the lead back in GT’s hands. Free throws from Koprivica and Gray stopped a 7-0 Tech run and tied the game at 48. Walker and Wright traded tough buckets to send the game to the under-8 media timeout tied at 50.

Two free throws from Wright gave Georgia Tech the lead out of the break. Walker tied the game back up on a wide-open bucket off a pretty euro-step move. The Yellow Jackets answered with a Devoe triple. An Alvarado bucket extended the lead to four after Gray made one of two free throws. Two Usher free throws pushed the lead to six with 4:30 remaining. Walker came up with another crucial shot, swishing home a wide-open, corner three-pointer. At the last media timeout of the game, the Yellow Jackets led 61-58.

Wright made one of two free throws out of timeout, pushing the lead to four. FSU turned the ball over for the 24th time on their next possession. Wright extended the lead to six with a driving layup. Barnes put back a missed three-pointer on the next possession to bring the deficit back down to four. The ‘Noles couldn’t get any defensive stops to allow themselves a chance to come back. GT got their way however they wanted late. Two Usher free throws pushed the lead to seven with 1:19 remaining. A second-chance bucket from Polite made it a five-point game with 1:04 remaining.

After two free throws from both sides, GT led by five with 39 seconds remaining as they took their third timeout. Two Alvarado free throws pushed the lead back to seven. Another Barnes’ lay-up cut it to five before Wright pushed it right back with two more free throws. The ‘Noles had a slight opening after Alvarado made just one of two free throws after another FSU lay-up and the Seminoles capitalized. Barnes hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to six with 18 seconds left. After a scramble for the ball, Walker was called for his fifth foul as Alvarado went to the line and drained two free throws. Alvarado put the game away with a steal of Evans.