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'
"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."
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.