Florida State (8-6, 7-6 ACC) fell to Georgia Tech (13-5, 11-4 ACC) by a 62-48 score tonight in Tallahassee, FL.
The game was tight in the first quarter. Tech was getting scoring from a variety of players. Florida State was relying on Bianca Jackson who scored eight of FSU’s 16 first quarter points.
In the second quarter GT built a lead. FSU simply couldn’t hit a shot. The Noles were 3-17 in the second quarter (0-4, 3PT) and the Jackets took advantage. GT was 6-9 in the second quarter outscoring the Noles 13-6 in the quarter.
However, that was nothing compared to the third quarter. Tech outscored FSU 18-8 in the third holding the Seminoles to 3-14 shooting in the quarter. Georgia Tech took a commanding 48-30 lead into the fourth quarter and the Noles were in danger of being run out of their own building.
However, the Seminoles didn’t quit. FSU managed to outscore the Jackets 18-14 in the fourth quarter but it was much too little and much too late as Georgia Tech held the Noles off for a 62-48 victory.
Bianca Jackson was the only Nole in double figures with 13 points.
Florida State simply had no answer for GT’s bigs. Lorela Cubaj (6’4) had 14 points and 10 boards. Nerea Hermosa (6’5) had 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Georgia Tech is a bigger team than FSU so it is somewhat understandable that they would have an advantage in the frontcourt.
However, if the Seminoles were going to win they needed to even the score on the other end. Specifically, there were many times where Sammie Puisis was being guarded on the perimeter by either Cubaj or Hermosa. FSU needed to take advantage of those mismatches but it just didn’t happen. Puisis only had two, I repeat two, shot attempts all game. That simply cannot happen. Puisis is being guarded on the perimeter by centers and Florida State couldn’t find a way to make Tech pay for that defense. FSU needed to run GT’s centers ragged if they were going to try to guard Puisis on the perimeter - screens, screens and more screens. It may have freed up Puisis but even if not it would have tired out Tech’s bigs so that they would have had less energy on offense.
The Seminoles lost in Atlanta in January in large part because they got outrebounded 48-26. In this game FSU won the rebounding battle 37-29 but still lost because Georgia Tech held the Noles to 32.3% shooting while hitting 57.1% of their own shots. That’s what happens when the best shooter on your team only takes two shots while playing over 31 minutes.
Also, FSU only had two fast break points all game.
The good news is that this won’t hurt FSU’s tournament chances that much. This was a Q1 game as GT is #25 in the NET so it wasn’t a bad loss. The bad news is that there are only three regular season games left so the Seminoles are running out of chances to get good wins. FSU is currently 2-5 in Q1 games and 3-1 in Q2 games with no bad losses. That is probably good enough for a tournament bid but I don’t think the Noles are locks yet.
Florida State welcomes the #3 Louisville Cardinals to Tallahassee on Sunday. The game tips at 2pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.