Pickett leads Florida State over the Hokies

After connecting at a sizzling 63% in the first half, the Seminoles shot just 27% in the second period. Foul trouble on the post players also plagues the Noles'. But, when points were needed, Tim Pickett and Michael Joiner came to the rescue.

Florida State withstood poor second half-shooting and intense post pressure to win their first true road game 76-69 over Virginia Tech. After connecting at a sizzling 63% in the first half, the Seminoles shot just 27% in the second period. Foul trouble on the post players also plagues the Noles'. But, when points were needed, Tim Pickett or Michael Joiner came to the rescue.

Pickett connected on just six shots. However, five were three pointers. Added to his 5 of 5 from the line and he led all scorers with 22 points. Coming off the bench apparently agrees with Joiner. He converted 6 of 12 from the floor and ended up with 16. Anthony Richardson was the only other Seminole in double figures with 14 points.

Trevor Harvey had only 9 points, but 6 rebounds to help give FSU a 38-34 advantage on the boards.

Tech put four players in double figures. The behemoth Terry Taylor had 17 to go along with his 9 rebounds. Bryant Matthews scored 15 and Carlos Dixon and Brain Chase each had 13.

Leonard Hamilton breathed a sigh of relief afterwards. The final margin was not an indication of how well his Seminoles played saying they had not worked great deal on end game situations yet. At times near the end of the game the Seminoles ran the shot clock down and rushed some ill-advised shots. But, Hamilton was overall pleased to come away with the victory and gain some valuable road experience.

FSU never trailed in the game jumping out immediately to a 5-0 lead. The Hokies stayed fairly close though pulling to 13-12 after Matthews beat Richardson on a 12-foot jumper. Pickett and Todd Galloway sandwiched three-pointers around two Dixon free throws. An 10-0 run started by Harvey and ended by a Mike Mathews finger roll offensive putback stretched the Seminole lead to 31-16 with just under seven minutes left in the half.

By that point eight different Seminoles had registered in the scorebook.

Virginia Tech closed it to ten twice over the remainder of the half. Each time FSU answered with three pointers, two each by Pickett and Joiner. Following Joiner's second bomb, Richardson made a 12-foot jumper with just twenty-five seconds left to give FSU its largest lead at 47-28. Dixon quickly narrowed that to 47-31 to end the half.

Tech's strategy to open the second half was obvious. Challenge FSU's post players. And it paid off eventually getting Harvey, Mathews, and Adam Wasleskowski into foul trouble with four each.

Taylor connected on back to back baskets to start play. Matthews' two free throws at the 14:48 mark narrowed FSU's lead to 49-41. Pickett comes to the rescue again with back to back threes to up the lead back to fourteen at 55-41.

Harvey picked up his forth foul a couple of minutes later and Taylor's free throws closed the deficit to 55-46. Despite shooting just 3 of 17 to that point in the half mostly due to Tech changing defense on nearly every possession, FSU did a good job of taking care of the ball and continued hitting the boards.

Richardson got two successive baskets on offensive rebounds. Fouled on the second putback, he converted the free throw to give FSU a 60-48 lead. Dixon again immediately followed that with a three and the lead was back down to nine.

Pickett again comes to the rescue when he was fouled on a three-point attempt. He calmly sank all three charity shots and then, faking a short jumper, he instead passes to Richardson for a monstrous slam-dunk. Joiner attacked the basket to get the lead back up to 67-51. Still 8:50 remained in the game.

But FSU clamped down on the Hokie shooters with a man to man defense that gave them trouble much of the game. Only when many of the starters had hit the bench did Tech manage to close the gap to the final margin of 76-69. Much of that occurred in the last minute of play.

Despite getting outshot at the stripe, Florida State was very effective connecting on 11 of 12. Tech was 21 of 27 from the line. So when FSU had the chance, they made the most of their opportunity. Hamilton felt the foul trouble his team experienced was the result of concentration errors that are easily correctable.

The Noles' improve to 8-3 and return home Monday night for their final out of conference game of the season. They will tip off at 7:00 PM against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

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