GAME NOTES: ACC action is on tap in Tallahassee on Thursday evening, as the Florida State Seminoles play host to the Clemson Tigers at the Tucker Center.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles were supposed to take another step in the right direction this season, following a highly successful 2011-12 in which the team won 25 games. Things have gone in the opposite direction though in 2012-13, as FSU has been simply mediocre, coming into this contest with a lackluster 10-7 overall record, which includes just a 2-2 mark in the ACC. The Seminoles have lost their last two games, including an ugly 56-36 decision at Virginia last timeout.
Brad Brownell's Tigers also come in sporting a 10-7 overall record, but are 2-3 in conference play thus far. Clemson dropped a narrow 66-62 decision to nationally-ranked NC State on Sunday, halting a brief two-game win streak.
Florida State holds a 32-28 advantage and is seeking the regular-season sweep after posting a 71-66 decision at Clemson in the ACC-opener for both squads on Jan. 5.
Clemson gave the mighty Wolfpack all they could handle in Raleigh this past weekend and almost escaped with the upset win. The Tigers went down by double digits early on, but fought their way back into a tie a couple of times in the second half, before relenting to NC State. The loss spoiled an absolute monster game from Devin Booker, who set a career-high with 27 points. Rod Hall joined Booker in double figures with 16 points in the setback.
The 6-foot-8 Booker has been a strong presence in the middle for Clemson, shooting .568 from the floor and pacing the Tigers in both scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg). K.J. McDaniels (10.6 ppg) and Milton Jennings (10.1 ppg) provide the team with a couple of complementary scorers. However, Clemson is by no means an offensive juggernaut, averaging a modest 63.9 ppg. The team has been much better on the defensive end, limiting opponents to just 56.1 ppg and holding them under 40 percent shooting (.392).
The Seminoles are certainly looking for answers after an obviously miserable performance at Virginia last weekend. FSU's 36 total points were far and away the lowest output of the season and almost half of the team's scoring average overall. The team knocked down just 16 baskets in the game total and was an ugly 1-of-15 from 3-point range. Michael Snaer and Okaro White led the team with just nine and eight points, respectively.
The Seminoles' struggles against the Cavaliers has to be considered a bit of an anomaly for a team that is averaging 70.8 ppg on 45 percent shooting. Snaer may not be seeking All-American honors as some thought he would coming into the season, but he does pace FSU in the scoring column at 14.8 ppg, although it does come on a rather mediocre .402 shooting. White is the only other double-digit threat at this time, netting 13.1 ppg.
Florida State is just 4-5 at home this season, so Tallahassee hasn't exactly been a safe haven for the Seminoles. Still, this team is much better than its recent play suggests.
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