Florida State’s struggles reached a new low — struggles to find shooting touch, shaky perimeter defense and a crushing loss to the ACC’s worst team.
Ithiel Horton drilled seven 3-pointers en route to a 25-point performance and Pittsburgh picked up its first ACC road win of the season, knocking off FSU 56-51 on Wednesday night. The Seminoles were a 10-point favorite even while playing without three starters and dropped their fifth straight game.
“We were solid with our defense,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I think we could have played better. You can tell that we did a pretty decent job with the exception of Horton, who it just seemed we had a hard time getting to him.”
FSU (13-10, 6-7 ACC) had its chances late, cutting the lead to one possession on a few occasions but Pitt made five of six free-throw attempts in the final 25 seconds to hold on.
The Seminoles lost five straight games for the first time since Feb. 2016. FSU went 20-14 that season and played in the NIT.
Caleb Mills and Matthew Cleveland felt pressure to be volume shooters and often missed in the first half. Mills had 19 points on 6 of 16 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Cleveland had 12 points on 4 of 13 shooting.
Cam’Ron Fletcher added nine points and seven rebounds. But the Seminoles missed chances around the rim, similar to the loss on Saturday against Wake Forest.
“We had several point-blank layups,” Hamilton said. “We just didn’t finish them. That has been a problem. The bottom line is we got to make them. I can say inexperience. I can say first-year players. But the bottom line is regardless that’s part of the development process.”
FSU clearly missed veterans Malik Osborne and Anthony Polite as well as center Naheem McLeod. Osborne will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury, while Polite and McLeod will miss extended playing time.
Jamarius Burton added 13 points and five rebounds for Pitt (9-16, 4-10). Horton was 7 of 13 from 3-point range.
FSU shot just 16 of 56 (28.6 percent) from the floor, 7 of 24 (29.2 percent) from 3-point range and 12 of 18 (66.7 percent) from the free-throw line. A few days after shooting 7 of 34 in the first half of a loss to Wake Forest, the Seminoles were 5 of 28 in the first half vs. Pitt.
The FSU-Pitt box score can be viewed here.
Up next: FSU at UNC
FSU will play at North Carolina on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ESPN).