TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After a close loss against Hofstra in November, the Florida State men’s basketball team held a players-only meeting that sparked one of its best stretches of the year.
The Seminoles are hoping to do it again as they enter the home stretch of the regular season.
They gathered behind closed doors after a 67-65 defeat to Miami on Sunday in a meeting that senior Boris Bojanovsky said strengthened the dynamic in the locker room heading into Wednesday’s home game against Georgia Tech (9 p.m., ACC Network).
“We got some stuff off our chest to each other without coaches,” Bojanovsky said. “It was powerful. It should help. Guys got more together.”
Freshman guard Malik Beasley said that any issues the team might have had were hammered out, then he pointed out all the smiles on the court as the Seminoles went through practice on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re good,” he said. “We’re back. We’re family.”
Which is good news for FSU because, disappointing as Sunday’s loss may have been, the Seminoles don’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves.
Their postseason goals are still on the table, but they can’t afford a letup against the Yellow Jackets.
Despite a roster that features the ACC’s top rebounder (Charles Mitchell, 10.68 RPG) and one of its best 3-point shooters (Adam Smith, league-high 2.9 3s per game), Georgia Tech is 13-12 on the season thanks to a 3-9 record in conference play.
That said, only one of those losses has come by double digits, and three have come by three or fewer points.
FSU has won 10 straight against the Yellow Jackets dating back to 2007, by far its longest-ever winning streak over a conference opponent.
“Georgia Tech is a team that’s a very hungry team,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “When you watch them, you don’t know who is going to win the game with eight minutes on the clock. It’s a two- or three-point game.”
Hamilton on Tuesday was asked to relive the final minute of the Seminoles’ loss to Miami, in which they never got a clean look at what would have been a game-winning shot.
But there’s not much sense, he said, in getting hung up on specific scenarios. He’d rather the Seminoles focus on handling the small details that led to that situation.
Missing out on a rebound, picking up an unnecessary foul or losing position on defense can cause just as many problems as a late-game mistake.
“I think the point is we just can’t take a possession off in anything we’re doing, offensively or defensively, in order to win ACC-type games,” Hamilton said. “Because a large percentage of them are decided by four points or less.”
And FSU figures to be in a few more close ones between now and the end of the regular season in March.
After Wednesday, the Seminoles have two straight road games – at Virginia Tech and Duke – before closing the campaign at home against Notre Dame and Syracuse.
It’s a difficult stretch, but one that also gives FSU at least three more opportunities to add impressive wins to their resume.
“We’ve still got five more games left,” Beasley said. “There’s plenty of time to turn up and get a streak going and even get our momentum going into the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament.”