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FSU loses at Clemson, 77-67

Florida State's Scottie Barnes floats a shot during the Seminoles' loss to Clemson.
Florida State's Scottie Barnes floats a shot during the Seminoles' loss to Clemson.(Maggie Boulton | Clemson Athletics)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 9:23 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (247Noles) - No. 18/19 Florida State suffered a 77-67 loss at Clemson on Tuesday evening at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.. The Seminoles again fell apart down the stretch in the second half, a similar issue to their first loss of the season which came against UCF earlier this month. Clemson outscored FSU, 48-33, over the final 20 minutes, pushing their lead to as many as 12 points in the final minute.

“We are a team, and I’ve said all along, we are a team that is a work in progress,” said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton. “We are not there yet.”

FSU is now 5-2 on the season and 1-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Tuesday marked the start of a 19-game stretch for the Seminoles against ACC opponents. Clemson improves to 7-1 on the season, including 1-1 against league opponents. The Seminoles have now lost two in a row to Clemson, both at their place. FSU is 44-34 all-time against Clemson, including 19-17 under Hamilton.

On the evening, FSU struggled in a number of ways. The Seminoles didn’t shoot it well. They got roughhoused at the rim on the boards. When it came to generating free throws, the Seminoles were lapped. FSU was sloppy with the ball on offense and sluggish defending the ball on defense.

FSU, who was led by 14 points and five assists by Scottie Barnes, finished the evening 26-for-62 (41.9%) from the floor, including 9-for-32 (28.1%) from deep. FSU was 6-for-9 (66.7%) at the line. The only other Seminole in double figures was M.J. Walker, who had 11 points. RayQuan Evans finished with a career-high nine points, all of which he scored in the opening half. Balsa Koprivica had eight points and a team-leading nine rebounds. The Seminoles committed 17 turnovers, while dishing out just 13 assists.

The Tigers, who had three in double figures led by 15 points for Clyde Trapp and 13 points from Nick Honor, all of which came in the second half, were 23-for-63 (36.5%) from the floor and 7-for-24 (29.2%) from deep. They thrived at getting to the free throw line, hitting 24-of-33 (72.7%) of their attempts. The Tigers drew 24 fouls on the Seminoles, compared to just 14 whistles that went FSU’s way on the evening. Clemson had 12 turnovers and 10 assists.

The Tigers also dominated the glass, out-rebounding FSU 49-35. Clemson had 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 14 second-chance points.

“Sure, they took a lot of threes and the balls bounced long, but there were some crowded rebounds that I thought they came away from that they out-fought us on the board and got,” Hamilton said. “That is on us.”

FSU finished the game with eight steals and six blocks. Clemson had seven steals and a block.

“I think that we have some adjustments that we need to make, mentally and emotionally, but I think that we are a team that has potential to be a really good basketball team,” Hamilton added. “But we’ve got to play with a little more sense of urgency for 40 minutes in all of the little details.”

Change coming to defense?: Leonard Hamilton was asked about the play by FSU on the defensive end this evening (and in past outings). His answer sheds some light on potential changes to FSU’s defensive philosophy specific to this year’s team at this stage of their development.

“The biggest adjustment we might have to make, we might have to not be able to switch one-thru-five the way we have been able to in the past. We might have to go back to a little bit more of a conventional defensive and maybe make those adjustments. ... We might have to make some adjustment defensively with this particular team until we get a little bit better containing the dribble because most people are junking their regular system and saying drive the ball to the basket. The way they are officiating the game, tonight it was effective. Last year it was not nearly as effective. But that team is no longer here. Those guys are somewhere else. We might have to make that adjustment defensively. We have zone in our package, but we might have to with this team make some adjustment defensively in relation to who we are to put ourselves in a little bit better position, which sometimes you have to do.”

At the half: Florida State led Clemson, 34-29, at the half. The Seminoles led by as many as nine points in the opening half, despite going scoreless for nearly five minutes to open the game.

In the first 20 minutes, the Seminoles were led by reserve guard RayQuan Evans, who had a career-high nine points in the first half. FSU’s bench contributed 18 of 34 first-half points for the Seminoles. Evans and Wyatt Wilkes (2-for-2 3PT) combined for 15 of those 18 points. M.J. Walker led FSU’s starters with seven points scored in the opening half. FSU was 12-for-27 (44.4%) from the floor and 6-for-15 (40.0%) from the perimeter. They were a perfect 4-for-4 (100%) at the free thrown line. The Seminoles gave it away 11 times in the opening 20 minutes.

Clemson was led in the opening half by starting guard Clyde Trapp, who scored seven points. The Tigers were just 9-for-35 (25.7%) from the floor, including 2-for-15 (13.3%) from deep. They hit 9-of-11 (81.8%) of their free throws. The Tigers committed just four turnovers.

FSU had a 22-21 rebounding advantage at the half, but Clemson recorded 10 offensive boards in the first 20 minutes.

Starters: FSU utilized the same starting lineup they have all season as they went with Scottie Barnes, Anthony Polite, M.J. Walker, RaiQuan Gray and Balsa Koprivica.

Up next: FSU hosts No. 20 Duke on Saturday at 8 p.m. That game will be shown on ESPN2.

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