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GT’s defensive intensity stifles FSU in ACC title game

Florida State let a chance to win the ACC Tournament title slip away in a stunning amount of turnovers.

Scottie Barnes scored a season-high 21 points and M.J. Walker had 15 points but also had eight of the Seminoles’ season-high 25 turnovers in a 80-75 loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday night. It is also among FSU’s highest turnover totals in a game in program history.

“It’s very unusual to have a team that shoots 56 percent from the floor, 53 percent from 3 and 78 percent from the free-throw line and lose,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Well, how you lose doing that well offensively is turning it over 25 times. We were unsure of our cuts, we were unsure in our decision making as we attacked their zone defense and the uncertainty in which we executed led to a lot of turnovers. You have to give them credit. They have a knack for forcing turnovers unlike anyone that we have seen, especially the ability to steal and knock the ball out of your hands and then not foul. that’s a skill that they have developed to the highest.”

The turnovers were overwhelming and overshadowed positives in shooting as well as rebounding. FSU also won the rebounding edge, 36-24.

Balsa Koprivica had 11 points and 10 rebounds, recording a double-double for a second straight night, but the Seminoles (16-6) couldn’t overcome their mistakes. Barnes had three rebounds and three assists but also had six turnovers. Anthony Polite had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Michael DeVoe had 20 points for Georgia Tech (17-8), which won its first ACC Title since 1993. The Yellow Jackets scored 31 points off turnovers.

When FSU could get a shot up, it was often a good one: The Seminoles made 56 percent of their shots from the floor. But the differential was significant as FSU had 50 shots to GT’s 62. The empty possessions added up, just as they did in the Seminoles’ loss at Georgia Tech in January. FSU tried to foul down the stretch but GT made its free-throw attempts.

FSU will travel directly from Greensboro, N.C., to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon or early evening, Hamilton said. The field of 68 teams will be announced on Sunday at 6 p.m. (CBS).

“The mindset that we have to be in is learn from the mistakes we made and hopefully we’ll be smarter and execute better going into the tournament because we realize what our shortcomings have been. I think we’ll be mentally prepared.”

The FSU-GT box score can be viewed here.