By Ken Cross
Florida State’s 76-72 loss at Wake Forest on Wednesday night is a definition of the evolving game of college basketball. There are tons of good teams, many hiding with worse records than there talent, and the intangible of the home court advantage may be at an all-time high.
The Demon Deacons had lost seven in a row since the season opening win over Syracuse while Florida State seemed to have hit another gear as the Seminoles had won three in a row and four out of five. Wake Forest was overdue for a win as the Deacons had been having a tough time defending the perimeter while FSU had shot over 45 percent in two of their last three from behind the line.
Things went south in a hurry in the second half for the ‘Noles who went 0-of-7 from three after making six in the first half. Terance Mann found only two attempts for the game while Braian Angola couldn’t find even one. Angola had come in averaging 17 point per game in his last three and scored only two points in the game.
“Sometimes, it’s just the nature of college basketball – there are nights when the ball is just not falling. I thought earlier, he (Angola) made a couple of turnovers that he normally doesn’t make. We were 0-of-7 in the second half from three and got good looks.”
Wake Forest took advantage of the struggles inside of the FSU offense while the Deacons only turned the basketball over 12 times. They found patience which allowed them to catch the length of the bigger, longer Seminoles out of position and get better looks on the back side of the ball rotation.
On the flip side, Phil Cofer sparked FSU to a 39-33 halftime lead. He was finding openings off the right side of the baseline and netting threes. He finished with 23 points, 12 in the first half as FSU enjoyed a pair of 10-point leads in the first 20 minutes.
“That’s why you need to be executing on the offensive end so that when you can’t knock shots down on the perimeter that you can find other ways to win,” explained Hamilton.
The Deacons outscored the Seminoles, 22-12, out of the locker room over the first eight minutes of the second half and assumed a 55-51 lead that they would relinquish only one down the stretch.
“We weren’t as sharp defensively as I would like for us to have been,” said Hamilton, “Wake did a good job of being patient and finding spots on the floor where they could make shots.”
The Seminoles had been super efficient over their three game winning streak in beating Miami, 103-94 on Saturday in overtime, after an 88-77 win over Georgia Tech last Wednesday. Mann averaged 22 points and six boards in those while shooting 63.6 percent from the field in the pair.
Wednesday night, he took only nine shots in 34 minutes and scored 10 points.
“This is typical ACC,” warned Hamilton, “On any given night, any team can beat you. On the court for 40 minutes, they did a much better job that we did.”