Florida State was just the better team today. They shot better, they passed better, they rebounded better. They looked like the better team for most of the game and spent most of it with a consistent 5-10 point lead. In the early second half the Seminoles pulled away to take a 51-35 lead and it looked like the game might be over. Instead the Yellow Jackets put together a 15-0 run to get within 1 point with less than 10 minutes in the second half. Unfortunately from there the Seminoles slowly pulled away again and weren’t threatened in the final few minutes.
Florida State’s size caused a myriad of problems for GT. Josh Pastner couldn’t play small ball nearly as much as he wanted to. Their rebounding prowess helped force Tech out of the matchup zone (the knockdown shooting didn’t help). Every shot seemed to be contested for the Yellow Jackets.
Still, this result is nothing to be ashamed of for the Yellow Jackets. They played on the road at the #15 in the country (#14 by KenPom) and hung in the game. FSU is 69-3 in their last 72 home games. Winning there is not at all easy. The Yellow Jackets were very loose with the ball in the first half with 10 turnovers, but only had 3 in the second half as they cleaned up their game. They shot 80% from the free throw line. They got hurt on the offensive glass, but didn’t get killed which is a real possibility against Florida State.
Florida State was hot from 3 hitting 8-17 from deep with a bunch of those being contested. The Jackets meanwhile hit only 5-20 from three. Michael Devoe, Bubba Parham, and Jose Alvarado combined for just 3-11. If they could have hit a few more shots this would have gone down to the wire.
It seems clear that this team has taken a real step forward from the disastrous opening week, but a win at Tallahassee is a tall task.
Devoe finished with 21 points on 7-15 shooting. He forced the offense a lot, but sometimes he needed to because nobody else was comfortable with the ball. Moses Wright and Jordan Usher both finished with 12 points (and a combined 6 rebounds), but for huge parts of the game Tech couldn’t get the ball inside in a good position.
The Seminoles were lead by freshman “guard” (he’s 6’9”) Scottie Barnes who took over in the second half and finished with 16 points. MJ Walker, Wyatt Wilkes, and big man Balsa Koprivica all made big contributions as well.
Tech now heads into what should be the two easiest games on the schedule. On Friday they take on Florida A&M (315th in the country) at home and then follow up Sunday with a home game against Delaware State (353rd in the country). Following that is the final game of the non-conference schedule. It’s a very tricky road game at UAB. All of these are pretty much must-wins at this point.