No. 6 Florida State aims to keep cruising at Georgia Tech (Jan 25, 2017)
Florida State has proven this season that it is more than just a football school. The Seminoles are 18-2 and ranked No. 6 in the nation, a perch that's higher than North Carolina, Duke, Virginia and Louisville.
Now the Seminoles get to take their act on the road to play pesky Georgia Tech (11-8, 3-4 ACC) on Wednesday at McCamish Pavilion.
"They're really good," Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. "They're a team that can make a Final Four run. They're deep, they're well coached and they've got pros on their team. We're going to have to be really good if we're going to have any opportunity to beat them."
FSU is another one of those high-level offensive teams that requires maximum effort and minimum mistakes from an outgunned Georgia Tech team. The Seminoles average 85.7 points, second in the ACC, and lead the conference with 49.8 percent field goal percentage.
"They're a high-level team," Pastner said. "They play a lot of guys and all the guys are able to play. I haven't seen all his teams, but I believe this is coach (Leonard) Hamilton's most talented team. They're really good."
FSU (6-1 ACC) is young, too. Sophomore Dwayne Bacon averages 17.4 points and is equally adept at driving to the basket and pulling up for a 3-pointer. He leads the team in free throws and 3-pointers. Freshman Jonathan Isaac averages 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds and was named NCAA Player of the Week after posting back-to-back double-doubles in wins against Notre Dame and Louisville.
"I'm happy with where we are," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I'm glad the guys are making progress. But this is not the time to get a tuxedo and start taking any bows. It's time to roll your sleeves up and really go to work."
The series with Florida State has been lopsided in favor of the Seminoles. Georgia Tech won last year's game in Tallahassee to break a 10-game losing streak to FSU. The all-time series is tied 16-16.
If Georgia Tech is going to have a chance, they can't afford to miss close shots like it did in Saturday's 62-49 loss to Virginia. The game was closer than the final score; Georgia tech trailed 29-28 with 4:26 left in the first half but failed to score again before intermission, which Virginia led 35-28. That stretch included two turnovers and a missed layup.
"We've got to be able to score the ball and we missed a lot of layups," Pastner said. "It's been a point of contention for us. We've got to continue to get better at it, work at it and hope we put the ball in the basket in those situations."
Georgia Tech will also need a bounce-back game from Ben Lammers, who scored a season-low seven points against the Cavs. Lammers was just 3-for-12 from the floor, partly because of a good defensive effort from Virginia's Jack Salt and partly because he was just having an off night.
"He got some really good looks and we'll live with those every day," Pastner said. "If they go in, we've got a good chance to win the game. If they don't, it makes it really hard for us. We are severely limited offensively. If we have one or two guys that aren't at a high level, it becomes very hard for us to give ourselves a chance to win."