Pressure not enough as No. 10 VCU falls to Florida State
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)
When Virginia Commonwealth has had success turning teams over and pushing the pace, it's usually meant good things have happened for the Rams.
But facing a Florida State team that is in many ways is a mirror image, those tactics weren't enough this time.
The 10th-ranked Rams forced 25 turnovers, but shot a paltry 29 percent as they were pounded in the second half of an 85-67 loss to Florida State at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday night.
''I thought, for us, this was a wakeup call and realization that we just can't be who we want to be — we have to make it happen,'' VCU coach Shaka Smart said. ''It was a classic case of allowing our offense to affect our defense. . . . There's going to be nights like that, but the good teams stick to the process.''
Ian Miller scored 22 points and Devon Bookert added 18 to lead Florida State.
The Seminoles (4-0) have scored at least 80 points in each of their games. Montay Brandon added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
''They were always a threat to get back into the game with their ability to knock down those 3s,'' FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. ''We were very fortunate to come away with a victory.''
Treveon Graham had 14 points to lead the Rams (3-1), who were denied their first 4-0 start since the 1993-94 season.
Florida State lost in overtime to VCU in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA tournament. There would be no repeat this time as the Seminoles took control late in the first half and then used an 11-0 spurt to open the second half.
Smart said he knew FSU had lots of versatility and that the Seminoles offense ''made us pay for our pressure.''
''We could have played a little more together on offense instead of trying to do it all by themselves all the time,'' Smart said. ''If we get the stops we need to get, it could make for a different game.''
VCU also came in averaging more than 80 points per game and it made for a pace that was rapid from the outset.
The Seminoles played with more control, though, and got a dunk off a set inbounds play just before halftime, then kept that momentum coming out of the locker room. They led by 26 at one point.
Florida State led by 12 at the break, holding VCU to just 2 of 11 from the 3-point line and 10 of 33 shooting from the field.
The Seminoles had 13 first-half turnovers, but got 14 points from their starting front court to help keep the Rams out of transition.
VCU's full-court pressure did force FSU into mistakes, but its poor shooting kept them from capitalizing much.
''I just feel like at the beginning of the game things were going our way offensively — we were cohesive as a unit,'' guard Rob Brandenberg said. ''It kind of all went downhill from there.''
The Rams fall to the consolation bracket and meet Long Beach State in the late game on Friday.
''We got to get ready for tomorrow for the next game,'' Brandenberg said. ''That's probably one of the toughest losses of my college career, but we got to move on and we got to learn from it.''