(22) Florida State (14-2, 2-1 ACC) was defeated today in Tallahassee by Clemson (12-5, 3-1 ACC) by a 57-45 score.
Florida State got off to a strong start at home. Kiah Gillespie nailed a triple with about six minutes left in the quarter to put FSU up 9-3. However, Clemson responded with a 7-0 run that was capped by a Keniece Purvis steal and fast break layup. The Seminoles were able to score the final four points of the period to take a 13-10 lead into the second quarter.
The two teams started the second quarter by trading baskets. However, with about six and a half minutes left in the quarter the Tigers made a major move. Clemson hit FSU with a 14-2 run to take a 31-26 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was a comedy of errors for both teams. However, it was worse for FSU. The Noles simply couldn’t make a layup. They got plenty of good shots but couldn’t convert. Florida State missed 12 layups in the third quarter alone. Even though Clemson wasn’t much better they were still able to widen the lead in the third quarter to 40-32 by outscoring the Noles 9-6 in the quarter.
The Seminoles started the fourth quarter strong as Gillespie scored six straight points to narrow the deficit to 40-38. However, Clemson struck back with six straight points of their own to take a 46-38 lead. FSU made a 7-0 run that was capped by a jumper from Nicki Ekhomu to pull within one at 46-45. Unfortunately those would be FSU’s last points of the game as the Tigers responded with a killer 11-0 run to end the game.
Kiah Gillespie had a double-double for FSU with 16 points and 14 boards. Nicki Ekhomu also chipped in 16 points.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to diagnose the reasons for this loss. Here are the shooting statistics for FSU; (17-64 FG, 26.6%), (4-24 3PT, 16.7%), (7-12 FT, 58.3%). If that wasn’t enough Florida State also had 23 turnovers.
The turnovers reflect the problems that the Noles had dealing with Clemson’s trapping defense. Nicki Ekhomu and Nausia Woolfolk have generally done a good job playing out of position at the point this year. However the operative words in that sentence are “playing out of position”. Due to injuries FSU doesn’t have a true point guard on the roster and that weakness showed up today against Clemson’s aggressive trapping defense.
However, the shooting was the primary killer in this game for the Noles. They got layup after layup and couldn’t finish. This game was there for the taking (especially in the third quarter) but the Seminoles couldn’t execute the most basic shot in basketball.
Clemson hired former Florida coach Amanda Butler in the offseason and Butler has done a great job of invigorating the program. The Tigers are coming off of an impressive 76-67 road win at Miami. Clemson is much improved over the last few years when they were the doormat of the ACC. However, FSU must do a better job at finishing easy shots or this will not be the last disappointing loss of the season.
This loss snaps two impressive winning streaks for FSU. The Noles had a 10 game winning streak broken and an 18 game winning streak against Clemson snapped today.
The Seminoles will regroup and head to Chestnut Hill, MA for a date with the Boston College Eagles (13-4, 2-2 ACC) on Thursday, January 17th at 7pm. The game will be broadcast on ACCNetwork Extra. BC defeated Pitt today 59-55.