Seminoles Cruise Past Pack, 72-62

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Florida State jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never trailed as the Seminoles defeated NC State 72-62.

N.C. State didn't get on the board until J.J. Hickson finally scored with 14:53 left in the first half. It didn't get much better the rest of the way for the Wolfpack as it dropped its sixth straight contest by a score of 72-62.

The Pack looked as inept as ever, letting a Florida State team that it had previously beaten in Tallahassee dominate on its home court from start to finish.

The Seminoles, who never trailed in the contest, ran the Pack rugged from the word "go," and cruised to an early 25-6 lead. The Pack failed to hit double-digit points until 6:27 left in the first half.

It was enough for coach Sidney Lowe to trash his team's performance.

"We were awful," Lowe said. "Our starting five didn't play well."

Just to get back into the game, the suddenly-hot Trevor Ferguson and Marques Johnson combined for an unlikely shooting pair that hit four first-half 3-pointers to cut the deficit to eight at halftime. That was the closest it had been since the opening 12-0 run.

Ferguson almost nailed a 75-footer at the end of halftime, just missing as it banged off the backboard and rim. The Ferguson-led momentum carried over somewhat into the second as Pack did cut it to two with an 8-2 scoring run.

But the State defense capitulated again, letting the Noles shoot their way to a larger lead. The on-the-ball defense was especially lacking as FSU guards were allowed to drive and shoot as they so pleased.

Toney Douglas and Jason Rich were the main culprits, torching State for 20 and 21 points respectively.

State didn't shoot horribly, didn't turn the ball over on numerous occasions and yet the Noles kept the lead well out of reach for the greater part of the game.

It was when the Pack turned the ball over, not how many times, that wound up costing them. And by giving up 13 Florida State offensive rebounds, it was unable to stretch together enough stops to take the lead.

"We weren't able to make something happen," Lowe said.

The only possibility of reaching the NCAA Tournament this season is an ACC Tournament title. Even the NIT could wind up being out of reach, should the Pack drop its remaining two games and the opening round game in the conference tourney.

In a season full of "awful" games, this one ranks up with the most disheartening ones. The Pack is now the first ACC team to reach 10 conference losses, when just earlier in this same month it was believed State could make it to the Big Dance.

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