Leonard Hamilton didn’t hide his displeasure Monday morning with Florida State’s effort, two days after the Seminoles fell behind 18-0 at North Carolina, trailed 62-24 at the half and lost 94-74.
Yes, the loss came with Malik Osborne, Anthony Polite and Naheem McLeod on the bench due to injury. And Caleb Mills went down in the first half with an foot/ankle injury. But Hamilton said the Seminoles were “a half step slow,” a rarity in teams he has had in the past 10-12 years.
“There have been very few games that I can feel like teams have given more effort than us,” Hamilton said. “And I felt that in the Carolina game, for whatever reason, we were a half step slow. I felt that they ran a little faster, they jumped a little harder, they moved a little quicker, moved the ball a little better. And I basically think that they played harder than us. And that’s concerning. It’s almost like our culture has been compromised unintentionally because I got high-character players who really respond to us in in a very positive way. I don’t know whether it’s a lack of confidence. I don’t know.
“But we have to fix that. First it starts with a tremendous amount of effort. But without the leadership on the floor that’s leading that way, I think that somewhere along the line we’ve had a little disconnect here because we gave us transition baskets, and we were ahead of them once they got the ball and then they out ran us and got layups, that never really happens. After going through the film some of it is defensive execution. I thought we had comprehensive (film) session, pointing out strengths and weaknesses and hopefully we will benefit from the poor execution and effort in the Carolina game.”
Hamilton did not call out specific players during his interview with the media on Monday. He called Sunday’s practice focused but said veterans and newcomers respond differently to adversity and these are difficult times with the Seminoles on a six-game losing streak, the first time that has happened in the Hamilton Era since the 2004-05 season.
“But I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes how an inexperienced guy responds is a little different than how experienced guys respond. But the true test will be how we respond on Tuesday night,” Hamilton said. “And that’s when I know whether or not they are absorbing.”
Caleb Mills’ status remains unknown
Mills went down with an injury about midway through the first half. Hamilton said FSU’s leading scorer received treatment and did not practice on Sunday.
“From all indications MRI didn’t show a fracture,” Hamilton said. “But we have a foot specialist looking at him to see the extent of how long it will take him to get back to 100 percent.”
FSU (13-11, 6-8 ACC) plays host to Clemson on Tuesday looking to break a month-long slide. The Seminoles had Polite and Mills in the lineup on Feb. 2, a 75-69 loss at Clemson, but now face the prospect of being down four starters for Round 2 with the Tigers. Hamilton said it’s likely forward Harrison Prieto will continue to play more, as will guard Justin Lindner.
“It seems as though each game we’ve gone into a games with different lineups, different rotations, but that’s part of the journey we are on this particular year,” Hamilton said.
Up next: Clemson at FSU
FSU plays host to Clemson on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will air on Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports South and other regional networks.