Pack Finishes Off Noles

Minutes before facing off against N.C. State in the first round of the ACC Tournament, members of the Florida State men's basketball team walked in complete silence through the tunnel and onto the MCI Center court.

The punchless Seminoles (12-19) didn't make much noise on the hardwood, either, and fell 70-54 to the Wolfpack (18-12) Thursday afternoon in a game that provided a fitting end to a season short of heightened expectations.


FSU fell behind 11-0 at the onset and managed a season-low 19 points in the first half. Five first-half 3-pointers from Ilain Evtimov helped add to margin and to the Seminoles' misery.


"Once again, we dug a hole for ourselves and once again it was very difficult to dig ourselves out," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We seemed to be very tentative on the offensive end and that was very disappointing to me."


After trailing by as much as 24 in the game, the Seminoles found a flicker in the closing minutes. Senior Anthony Richardson hit a jumper from long range with 3:11 to play, and his steal on the ensuing inbound let to a tip from Al Thornton that narrowed the deficit to 59-51.


Richardson stole another inbound shortly thereafter but Jason Rich committed a deflating turnover. N.C. State converted 5-of-6 free throw chances and outscored FSU 11-3 the rest of the way to sew up the victory.


"Ultimately our inexperience cost us," said Richardson, who led FSU with 16 points in his final collegiate game. "We got back into the game but then we started rushing things on offense and losing guys on defense."


Evtimov led all scorers with 18 points while teammates Engin Atsur (17 points, nine rebounds) and Julius Hodge (14 points, seven assists) came just short of double-doubles.


N.C. State will play Wake Forest Friday afternoon in the quarterfinal round.


"Bottom line- we came out and put ourselves in good position to win the game," Evtimov said.

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