January 23, 2016 - by
Seminoles Fall At Home To Pitt, 74-72

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s game against Pittsburgh on Saturday left the Seminoles with broken hearts and sick stomachs.

Despite at times playing some of their best basketball of the season – FSU shot 53.7 percent from the field and outrebounded the Panthers – the Seminoles allowed Pitt to escape with a 74-72 victory here at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

FSU (12-7, 2-5 ACC) led for more than 30 minutes and held a 10-point advantage at halftime.
But instead of a win that might have confirmed that the team is trending in the right direction – even after a lopsided loss at Louisville earlier this week – the Seminoles are once again looking to stop a two-game skid.

They’ll take their next crack at it at Boston College on Tuesday.

“It was a huge opportunity,” sophomore guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes said. “And we had a few plays down the stretch that we didn’t make. A couple block-outs that we missed. I had a tough pass to ‘Book’ (Devon Bookert) that I turned over. It was just a few plays down the stretch.

“It’s a process, but it’s time for us to start getting wins.”

In a cruel turn, the same things that the Seminoles did so well for most of the game later led to their undoing.

They more than held their own on the glass, grabbing 32 rebounds to Pitt’s 31. But they surrendered 15 offensive rebounds, the last of which led to Jamel Artis’ game breaking 3-pointer with 33 seconds to go.

They held Pitt to 39.3 percent shooting, but those offensive boards let the Panthers off the hook and let to several second opportunities, both from the floor and the free-throw line. Pittsburgh had twice as many free-throw opportunities as FSU, and made more (16) than the Seminoles even attempted (12).

“I think that probably had as much to do with us losing the game as anything,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “And that’s to their credit. That’s who they are. They’ve always been that type of team.”

Even Malik Beasley scored 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting performance, only to watch the final 2 minutes and 26 after fouling out.

“I hate people having easy baskets,” Beasley said. “That’s why I got the foul. … I’ve just got to be smarter off the ball when I’m helping.”

The final few seconds of the game will likely stick with the Seminoles for a while.

After Artis’ 3-pointer, the Seminoles still had the ball with 26 seconds and a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.

But after a 30-second timeout, freshman guard Dwayne Bacon couldn’t find a recipient for his in-bound pass and was called for a five-second violation.

Pitt got the ball and, a few moments later, Michael Young knocked down a pair of free throws that sealed the game.

They more than held their own on the glass, grabbing 32 rebounds to Pitt’s 31. But they surrendered 15 offensive rebounds, the last of which led to Jamel Artis’ game breaking 3-pointer with 33 seconds to go.

They held Pitt to 39.3 percent shooting, but those offensive boards let the Panthers off the hook and let to several second opportunities, both from the floor and the free-throw line. Pittsburgh had twice as many free-throw opportunities as FSU, and made more (16) than the Seminoles even attempted (12).

“I think that probably had as much to do with us losing the game as anything,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “And that’s to their credit. That’s who they are. They’ve always been that type of team.”

Even Malik Beasley scored 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting performance, only to watch the final 2 minutes and 26 after fouling out.

“I hate people having easy baskets,” Beasley said. “That’s why I got the foul. … I’ve just got to be smarter off the ball when I’m helping.”

The final few seconds of the game will likely stick with the Seminoles for a while.

After Artis’ 3-pointer, the Seminoles still had the ball with 26 seconds and a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.

But after a 30-second timeout, freshman guard Dwayne Bacon couldn’t find a recipient for his in-bound pass and was called for a five-second violation.

Pitt got the ball and, a few moments later, Michael Young knocked down a pair of free throws that sealed the game.

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