Florida State basketball fans are used to their team struggling on offense the past few season.But to use that word in describing the Seminoles offense in Friday's game against Harvard would be a severe understatement.
The 'Noles missed their first sixteen shots before finally scoring any points. Terrence Shannon's spin move in the lane for the layup at the 8:50 mark finally put FSU on the scoreboard. Amazingly however the Seminoles only trailed Harvard 7-2 after Shannon broke the scoring drought.
That's what a great defense will do for a team keeping them in the game until the offense can get on track.
But in the end FSU's defense never did and suffered their first defeat of the season 46-41.
It was visible early on that the Seminoles were suffering a hangover of sorts from Thursdays quick paced game. Sluggish from the start, the 'Noles did not go to the basket aggressively at all. That is when they did go to the basket more often than not settling for early the jump shot that played right into the hands of the Duke like Harvard defense.
But the defense kept FSU close and in fact was tied at the halftime. Unfortunately for those that like to see scoring there was very little of it by both teams as the score was deadlocked at 14 going into intermission.
In fact it was horrid offense with FSU shooting 4-29 (21% and Harvard 4-23 (11%).
Hamilton was confident though that he could correct his team's issues and get them playing better in the second half.
It would have been hard not to have played better given how bad the first twenty minutes were. But Hamilton was somewhat right and FSU played with a little more energy. Shooting was still awful for both teams but at least the 'Noles picked it up at least a little on offense cashing in on some fast break opportunities created from its usual tough defense.
Michael Snaer (the one and only player on the court to score in double figures with 10 points) stole the ball out high and went coast to coast to finally give FSU a 24-23 lead with 9:44 remaining.
It would be FSU's only lead of the game.
Where it seemed to unwind was one minute later with FSU trailing 26-24 and Xavier Gibson at the free throw line, one of the few times FSU managed to get to the line, shooting two. Gibson made neither. However Bernard James got the rebound and put it back to apparently tie the score but Gibson was called for basket interference.
Laurent Rivard's three ball at the 7:58 mark made it 29-24 and then made another when he was left wide open on the right wing giving Harvard an eight point margin, 34-24.
Following Snaer's three pointer, Deividas Dulkys added a three from the left corner to close it to 36-32 with 3:51 left to play.
Dulkys next shot however was an air ball and there was simply not enough possessions left as Harvard patiently executed their offense and forced FSU into fouling.
The Seminoles finished the game shooting 36% including 3 of 8 from behind the arc and just 4 of 10 at the stripe.
Harvard was much worse connecting on just 27% of their shots but made 5 three pointers. The difference however was at the free throw line with the Crimson converting 17 of 24 attempts.
With the defeat, the 20th ranked Seminoles fall to 5-1 and will play UConn in the consolation game of the Battle 4 Tournament at 2 PM on Saturday.