WATCH: FSU men set for Round 2 with Yellow Jackets
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two weeks ago, the Florida State men’s basketball team waded through a slow, disjointed and – to paraphrase Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner – mucky affair against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The Seminoles emerged with a 59-49 victory despite shooting 34.8 percent from the field and posting their second-lowest point total of the season.
And while they’ll never apologize for a win, the No. 17 Seminoles also hope that the lessons learned from that first meeting will serve them will for Round 2, set for Saturday afternoon in Atlanta (2 p.m., Raycom).
“We watched film on it yesterday, and we saw a lot of good things that will help us in the second game,” FSU senior David Nichols said.
“It gives you a sense of where you’re going to be able to attack from,” junior Trent Forrest said. “You know, especially, what you’ve got to be able to do for that next game to attack against them.”
Then again, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton also admitted that if the Seminoles do, in fact, crack Georgia Tech’s defense, a matchup zone that he described as “unconventional,” they’ll be one of the few teams in the ACC to have done so.
Even with an 11-14 record (3-9 ACC), the Yellow Jackets rank fifth in the league in scoring defense (64.7 PPG) and are just 0.7 points behind Clemson for third.
“It’s a different type of matchup zone defense that no one seems to be able to solve,” Hamilton said. “Everyone seems to struggle with it.
“It’s unconventional, and there’s no doubt that we’re going to have to do a better job attacking than we did last time.”
The teams have been moving in opposite directions since their first meeting. FSU’s win over Georgia Tech was the third of what’s now a six-game winning streak, the school’s longest against ACC competition in seven years.
The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are in the midst of a six-game skid.
But that doesn’t mean the Seminoles have any intention of looking past them. Not even with road games at Clemson and North Carolina to follow.
Two years ago, FSU took a No. 6 national ranking and a 6-1 ACC record that included high-profile wins over Virginia, Duke and Louisville, to Atlanta to face a middling Georgia Tech squad.
The Seminoles were then sent home with a stunning, 78-56, defeat.
“For whatever reason,” Hamilton said, “even though Georgia Tech has not won that many games, they’ve been extremely challenging with whoever they’ve played against.”
The Seminoles left Tallahassee on Friday afternoon for an extended road trip.
They’ll stay in Atlanta following Saturday’s game then head straight to Clemson for a Tuesday-night visit to Littlejohn Coliseum (9 p.m., ESPNU).
They’ll wrap up a three-game road swing (albeit with a stop at home in between) on Saturday at No. 8 North Carolina.
And while the change in schedule can present some unique challenges, Hamilton said he’s not yet ready to think about anything other than the Yellow Jackets.
“Going on the road and playing against an opponent in the ACC is always challenging, even when it’s just a one-day trip,” he said. “But you can’t really worry about Game 2 and 3. You have to give all your attention to the game you have at hand.”