It wasn't as though the Seminoles shot the ball all that poorly. FSU converted an okay 37% from the floor. But the lack of focus that plagued the Noles' in the second half of the North Carolina game carried over into much of today's contest. It was the 46% from the floor that the Seminoles allowed the Terriers to shoot that disturbed Head Coach Leonard Hamilton.
Despite a change in the starting lineup, possibly a signal of a shakeup, FSU had large portions of the game where the Noles' just appeared to be sluggish a fact that disappointed Hamilton.
That lapse in concentration showed up in the three point statistics. Not known as a three point shooting team, Boston U nailed more long range bombs than FSU attempted making 14 of 33 (42%) Too many of them for Hamilton's liking came off of ball screens that the Noles' worked very hard on defending since arriving in Tempe. Florida State meanwhile could only manage 4 of 14 (27%) from behind the arc. And therein lay the difference in the game.
Leading all scorers was the Terriers' Matt Turner with 18 points including four three pointers. In fact it was a balanced attack from outside as Billy Collins (15 points) and Chaz Carr (13 points) each added four three pointers as well.
For the Noles' Michael Joiner scored 11 off the bench along with starter Anthony Richardson. Tim Pickett added 10, but just two in the second half were of a concern to Hamilton. Trevor Harvey had one of his better games with 10 points, but foul trouble in the second half limited his playing time.
The holiday malaise over FSU could readily be seen at the start of the game. The Terriers converted three quick threes in the first few minutes and led 11-4. That prompted Hamilton to call a thirty-second timeout. The strategy worked as a Todd Galloway steal and assist resulted in a three-pointer by Pickett to tie the game at 11.
FSU took its first lead, 16-15, of the game at the 12:55 mark on another Pickett three-pointer. And then FSU went into a slump.
Carr tied it again at 18 less than a minute later. Boston U regained the lead on a wide-open three by Collins at the 8:01 mark. Jason Grochowalski followed that with a three to up the lead to 26-22. At this point in the game, Boston U was shooting 59% from the field. Not indicative of Florida State's perimeter defense earlier in the season thus far.
The Seminoles' woke up at that point. Adam Wasleskowski, who started in place of Joiner, made an assertive layup. Marcel Haywood added two free throws to precede another Wasleskowski basket to regain the lead 28-26. Pickett stole an inbound pass and got the ball to Nate Johnson for one of the very few fast break points by the Noles. FSU had its largest lead at 32-28 with 4:08 to play in the half.
But, the Noles' could not handle the Terriers' zone defense and managed just one free throw to close out the half. Meanwhile Kevin Gardner's layup gave Boston U a 36-33 halftime lead.
Boston U threatened to stretch the lead out fairly early on in the second half. Paul Seymour's three-pointer off great ball movement gave the Terriers a 44-38 lead.
FSU now found itself in catch up mode. And at one point it looked like the Noles' would take control of the game. After getting down 53-45 on a Turner three from above the key, Joiner nailed a three of his own. Richardson scored six straight points following that basket to give the Seminoles a 54-53 lead at the 9:11 mark.
That effort all but disintegrated in a flurry of long-range bombs. Four different Terriers scored five three point shots that blew a close game into a ten point 68-58 lead for Boston U. Carr's three with just over five and a half minutes to play was the nail in the coffin.
Despite gaining an advantage at the free throw line when Boston U was in the double bonus at the 3:57 mark, FSU converted only one basket over the last four plus minutes of the game. Forced in to fouling the Terriers were just as adept as the Seminoles at converting the charity shots.
The rest of the game was nothing more than a parade to the line save for a slam-dunk exclamation point with six seconds left by Grochowalski. FSU converted 25 of 31 free throws to 18 of 24 for the Terriers.
Its back to the drawing board for the Seminoles following the loss. They will more than likely play Davidson who takes on Arizona in the second part of the Fiesta Bowl Classic. Tip off is set for Monday at 6:45. The mini tournament is also a fundraiser for cancer research in honor of Betty Olson the late wife of Arizona head coach Lute Olson.