Georgia Tech-Florida St. Preview

Having won five straight, Florida State’s lengthy layoff may

have not come at an ideal time, but it likely won’t have too much

difficulty dealing with its next opponent.

The 21st-ranked Seminoles look to win their seventh consecutive

game over last-place Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in

Tallahassee.

Florida State throttled Wake Forest 75-52 on Wednesday, and

after dropping its ACC opener has won five straight to challenge

heavyweights North Carolina and Duke for the conference lead.

The Seminoles (14-6, 5-1) have been winning with their stingy

defense. They are holding teams to 62.2 points on 38.2 percent

shooting during the winning streak.

Despite the run, which includes victories over the Tar Heels and

Blue Devils, Florida State isn’t looking ahead – even with

Saturday’s visit from No. 16 Virginia on tap.

“We’re still using a one game at a time approach,” coach Leonard

Hamilton said. “These games can go either way.”

Coming off a long layoff, the Seminoles will look to get off to

a better start Wednesday after a slow first half against the Demon

Deacons. They shot 37.5 percent to take a six-point lead into the

break before becoming more aggressive at getting the ball

inside.

Michael Snaer scored 18 points – going 4 of 4 from beyond the

arc – as Florida State shot 68 percent in the final 20 minutes. The

Seminoles outscored Wake Forest 40-16 in the paint.

Snaer, who hit a 3-pointer as time expired to defeat Duke on

Jan. 21, is averaging 17.0 points the last four games, but it’s his

defense that has Hamilton impressed.

“If you watch Michael play, he plays with the fire of a

warrior,” Hamilton said. “I think he’s as good a defender as we’ve

had here at Florida State and we’ve had two guys that were

defensive player of the year.”

Snaer scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in a 72-63 win over

Georgia Tech last February – the Seminoles’ sixth straight against

the Yellow Jackets.

After some emotional wins the last two weeks, Hamilton said the

team was being careful not to overlook Georgia Tech (8-13, 1-6),

which has dropped five in a row and nine of 10.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 93-81 loss at North Carolina

on Sunday. Leading scorer Glen Rice Jr. was held to four points on

2-of-7 shooting, and Georgia Tech fell behind by 20 at the

half.

Rice said he was bothered by an injury to his right big toe

suffered during a recent practice. He played just 22 minutes.

“No excuses,” said Rice, who scored 24 points – on 28 shots – in

last season’s loss to the Seminoles. “I should have come out there

and played better. It just wasn’t a good game today.”

Rice’s struggles weren’t the only problem for the Yellow

Jackets, who have trailed by an average of 14.2 points at halftime

during their losing streak after allowing the Tar Heels to shoot

60.0 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

Coach Brian Gregory said the slide has been taxing on players

and the coaching staff, but he’s been trying to maintain a positive

focus.

“When you’re in this thing, and you know exactly where you are

at and where you want to get to, sometimes you have to pull out

some positives signs that aren’t noticeable to other guys,” Gregory

said.

Georgia Tech has lost seven in a row to ranked opponents.