Florida State falls to Auburn 78-72

Florida State started off the night well by building a double digit lead in its first road test this season. But that didn't last long.

In its first true road test of the season playing on an opponent's home court, the first 11:05 of the game was going all Florida State's way.

Countering a mini run by Auburn, Michael Snaer's three pointer and Okaro White's floater in the lane put the 'Noles back up by twelve, 26-14. FSU shot as high as 78% in those early minutes.

Terry Whisnant was on fire with 13 points in the first eight minutes. FSU was rolling, and it could have been an even bigger margin if free throws were falling.

Then it all went south as the Seminoles dropped to 8-5 on the season in a 78-72 loss to Auburn.

The turnovers were a large part of the loss and nine of them happened in the first twenty minutes. But, it got even worse in the second half and FSU finished with 20 turnovers on the night.

As Leonard Hamilton pointed out after the game, in the first half there was one player in particular who committed three straight turnovers. Definitely not what the head coach was looking for in what he called "extremely disappointing" referring to the profuse number of mistakes.

And that shooting percentage began to predictably slide as FSU went cold from the floor ending with a respectable 48%, but certainly buoyed by the early shooting success.

Auburn didn't exactly take advantage of the FSU mistakes as much as they could have scoring just 17 points of turnovers.

What they did take advantage of, though, were the numerous trips to the free throw line connecting on 28-of-41 shots while FSU was incapable of getting to the line. And when they did, they could not convert going just 7-15 on the night, 3-9 in the first half.

Despite all the bad, Florida State only trailed by one point at the half. For some inexplicable reason, instead of running the game clock down far enough, Devon Bookert took a very poor shot with more than ten seconds left in the half. With that much ample time, Auburn grabbed the rebound which resulted in an easy layup putting the Tigers up 36-35 as the buzzer sounded.

Both White and Terrence Shannon saw the bench early after picking up their third fouls by the time less than ninety seconds had gone off the clock.

Another ninety seconds later Auburn took the lead, 42-40, a lead they would never relinquish and would eventually grow to twelve points. Some missed free throws near the end and a cosmetic three pointer by Bookert made the score appear closer than it really was.

Because after the first 12 minutes it was clear which team was playing harder and giving maximum effort.

It was the first loss of the season for the Seminoles when leading at the half. Said Hamilton, "We just didn't have the energy, the focus, or the mental capacity to execute as well tonight as we have over the past four games." ?

Snaer led all Seminoles with 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Whisnant could only manage another three pointer late in the game finishing with 16 points.

Unfortunately the duo did not get much help from teammates. Frank Sullivan, a pain in the side of FSU, scored 24 and Allen Payne added 17 for the Tigers (6-7).

With the loss, Florida State finishes out of conference play on a down note heading into its first conference game with Clemson at Littlejohn Arena, a place the Seminoles have not fared well.

Hamilton realizes the hill his team faces heading into ACC play. "We have a history of digging ourselves out of a hole. But this is the deepest hole we have been in some time. No question this will be viewed as a bad loss come (NCAA tournament) selection time."

Tip off is set for 4 PM and will be aired on Fox Sports South.

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