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March 13, 2010

Seminoles can only blame themselves

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Florida State fell victim to yet another barrage of Scott Wood 3-pointers, but this time around their was a bigger factor causing a bigger problem: themselves.

The No. 3-seeded Seminoles (22-9) racked up more than twice as many turnovers (20) as assists (8) in their 58-52 loss to the No. 11 Wolfpack (19-14) in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night. Many of the miscues could be described as self-induced. Some were silly. Others were just infuriating.

"The majority of our turnovers were on us," FSU guard Derwin Kitchen said. "It didn't have anything to do with their defense. You can't have 20 turnovers when you're playing half court sets."

On the first possession, center Solomon Alabi made a steal at midcourt and was headed for an easy breakaway dunk, but blatantly double dribbled.

Later in the first half, big man Ryan Reid tried to lead a fast break and fired a pass well into the crowd.

"We just had too many turnovers," Reid. "Our defensive was there and our intensity was there, but the turnovers were too big a problem."

Michael Snaer and Alabi couldn't connect on a simple outlet pass and the ball spilled out of bounds.

Pierre Jordan dribbled the ball out of bounds in the backcourt.

The Seminoles were whistled for three traveling calls.

"I am very disappointed that we were not able to take care of the ball better than we did tonight," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We turned the ball over 20 times and they scored 16 points off our turnovers. Anytime you play against a team that's executing, moving the ball as well and getting as high percentage shots as they were getting, and you give it back to them 20 times, it's very difficult to overcome."

The numbers back Hamilton up as FSU dominated in certain areas. The Seminoles had a 42-25 edge on the boards and grabbed 19 offensive boards compared to just six for the Wolfpack.

The FSU bench had one of its better games of the season, combining for 16 points while the N.C. State reserves had just four.

The Seminoles will undoubtedly receive an NCAA Tournament bid despite the loss, but the mood in the locker room was still somber with many players visibly upset.

"We wanted to get back to the (ACC Tournament) title game," Kitchen said. "We view this as a failure."

The Seminoles were being projected anywhere from a No.7 to a No. 9 seed, but this loss may drop them down to a No. 10, which could be viewed as a blessing in disguise since the dreaeded No. 8-9 matchup is virtually assured of facing a No. 1 seed in the second round.

"It's not over for us," Reid said. "We still have time to regroup. We need to go back home, work on cutting down our turnovers and getting more ball movement."

ANYTHING YOU CAN DUNK, I CAN DUNK BETTER

FSU forwards Xavier Gibson and Chris Singleton threw down what may have been the best two dunks of the tournament so far. Gibson grabbed a miss with both hands well above the rim and threw down a powerful two-handed putback to put the Seminoles up 14-7 with 12:01 to play.

Kitchen made a steal and pushed the ball ahead in transition to Singleton, who soared for a one-handed throwdown over NC State's Johnny Thomas, who was whistled for a foul, to give the 'Noles a 22-21 lead with 4:06 left in the first half.

Gibson was an especially bright spot, scoring seven points, including a tough reverse layup in the second half, grabbing five boards and blocking two shots in 17 minutes off the bench.

NUMBERS GAMES

Kitchen set a career-high with 11 rebounds, topping the nine he grabbed against North Carolina last season. The 6-4 junior college transfer went into traffic around the basket to come down with a handful of those boards.

NC State point guard Javier Gonzalez, who sprained his ankle in the first round versus Clemson, had five of the Wolfpack's 10 steals and also dished out a game-high six assists.

Alabi was just one rebound shy of snagging his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 13 points, pulling down nine boards and adding four blocks.


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