'Noles fall at Tech

ATLANTA – Florida State can't kick its road rash. The Seminoles came agonizingly close once again Saturday afternoon before succumbing to Georgia Tech 63-60, their 24th straight ACC road loss. Freshman Von Wafer couldn't fill the shoes of Tim Pickett, who suffered an ankle injury before fouling out of the game with 6:43 remaining. Wafer missed short on a pair of open 3-point looks in the deciding possession just before the Yellow Jackets sealed it from the line.

Freshman Von Wafer couldn't fill the shoes of Tim Pickett, who suffered an ankle injury before fouling out of the game with 6:43 remaining. Wafer missed short on a pair of open 3-point looks in the deciding possession just before the Yellow Jackets sealed it from the line.

"They were just bad shots," Wafer said. "There is no excuse for that."

A small measure of drama ended the contest. After Nate Johnson booked the game's final points on a layup with three second remaining, Tech's Jarret Jack missed a pair of shots from the line. Anthony Richardson corralled the loose ball but his desperation heave from halfcourt missed just long.

On a day in which his team turned the ball over 22 times, Marvin Lewis bailed out the Yellow Jackets with 21 points. Lewis hit three timely jumpers just after intermission as Tech rallied from a 29-25 halftime deficit. That 7-0 burst turned the tide of momentum in favor of the Jackets, who shot 60 percent in the second half after making just 29.6 percent of their tries in the first.

"Lewis was the guy that gave us some breathing room," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt said. "Obviously we didn't show it today but I think we have been playing as well as anybody."

The loss prolongs an inopportune losing snide for the Seminoles, whose position on the NCAA Tournament bubble has grown precarious. FSU (18-11, 6-10 ACC) has lost four straight by a combined 18 points.

"It's the same old story," forward Andrew Wilson said. "We have to find something inside ourselves to get over the hump.

"This is a testing period for us," added Adam Waleskowski, who led the 'Noles with 12 points and five boards.

Alexander Johnson added 12 for FSU, whose opponent in the first round of the ACC Tournament will either be N.C. State or Clemson. Tim Pickett and Nate Johnson added ten apiece. Pickett snared six steals in 11 minutes before halftime.

"Going into the game tonight, we were entering uncharted waters as far as the importance of this game," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "There's a certain mindset you have to get into to win on the road and come away with victory. Somewhere along the line, you start to mature. I was hoping that tonight, with our backs against the wall, we would be able to find it."

They found it, but only temporarily. The Seminole's couldn't bottle the energy they used early when a 17-4 run put them in the driver's seat.

Pickett's status is questionable for next weekend's tournament. FSU's leading scorer had an air cast on after the game and will be evaluated Monday. The news on Wilson, who took a tumble going after a loose ball in the final minute, is much better – the sophomore was only battling cramps.

Hamilton's mentality: Lesson learned. The hard way.

"Our team will be able to look at this game and grow from it," he said. "Sometimes you have to take a hard knock and feel the pain to understand how bad you want it. Tonight I hope that we can grow from the pain."


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