Seminoles stay hot, dump Deacons

Keeping its foot on the accelerator, Florida State is now winners of five straight ACC tilts after topping Wake Forest. The 'Noles refused to have a letdown following this past Saturday's shocker at Duke.

Any doubts that Florida State would move on from Saturday's stunner in Durham to focus on its next opponent were answered Wednesday night.

The Seminoles remained on fire and disposed of Wake Forest with a solid second-half effort. Led by Michael Snaer's 18 points, FSU defeated the Demon Deacons 75-52.

It would've been natural to expect some sort of letdown following a thrilling win over Duke just four days ago. Early on, it appeared that might be the case.

The offense started out slow in the opening minutes, and the ‘Noles were only able to muster 29 points in the first half -- the primary reason being the significant amount of jumpshots attempted and the lack of post game established.

However, the Seminoles came out for the final 20 minutes with a different mindset and the desire to get the ball inside. Once they started to do that efficiently, the game opened up and Florida State went on an 18-2 run that effectively ended any hopes of a Deacons upset.

"We just kind of tried to slow it down, get the ball inside, get points in the paint, take it to the free-throw line," said Xavier Gibson following the win. "We knew they were lacking inside from foul trouble and injuries, so we just wanted to pound it inside."

Gibson is referring to the injury of 7-foot center Ty Walker, who left the game late in the first half with a concussion. With Walker sidelined, the garnet and gold were able to dominate inside and get easy looks near the basket. The ACC co-leaders outscored Wake 40-16 in the paint, which led to an impressive 51-percent shooting on the night.

Although this win doesn't match up with recent triumphs over perennial powerhouses Duke and North Carolina, it can be chalked up as a victory that displays the recent consistency of this team.

The ‘Noles are a squad that demands a scoring-by-committee approach. There is not a proven superstar among this year's bunch, and they will need a balanced attack in order to continue their recent success.

Wednesday night's game was indicative of this method.

In addition to Snaer's 18, Okaro White added 11 and Gibson contributed with 10. 12 of the 13 players that attempted a shot managed to score, and all of this occurred despite Ian Miller's poorest shooting performance of the season.

"They've kind of bought into the fact that we're a team that has to win by committee," said coach Leonard Hamilton. "We have to give everyone an equal opportunity, and the guys have bought in. It took us a while to sort it out."

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It may have taken some time for this team to find its stride, but FSU is hitting on all cylinders at the right time. Winners of five straight, Florida State is averaging 81.2 points per game in its last four while still maintaining the defensive fundamentals that have guided this team's success over recent years.

The ‘Noles forced 18 turnovers in their latest conquest and held Wake Forest to less than 35-percent shooting. Although the Seminoles have started to establish themselves as a scoring threat, it will be consistent defense that sees this team through the rest of the season.

Florida State will have a week to rest before it goes for a sixth straight victory. The Seminoles return home Feb. 1 to take on Georgia Tech.


Matt Ritter is the basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.


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