Florida State Falls at GT: 3 Game-Changing Plays

To be realistic, Florida State wasn’t going to win out the rest of the season. This team is still growing and still learning how to play within itself. This game still easily could’ve been won, FSU was just lacking energy for most of the game and it really showed. There was a lack of focus when catching passes, trying to advance the ball, collecting airballs and blocked shots. When you look at the stats, which I will show in a minute, there’s very little discrepancy in most of the stats.

Georgia Tech had lost the last two games due to bad closes to a half, but they were great to close both halves in this game, especially the first half. With 2:45 remaining, FSU had a 25-22 lead, but GT closed the half on an 11-1 run, and took a 33-26 lead into halftime. In the last 11 minutes of the first half, FSU was able to score just 6 points, and was a huge reason why FSU lost this game. The first half was the worst half of basketball since the 2019 game at Virginia when FSU went into that game with four of their five starters dealing with an injury.

The second half saw a ton of free throw opportunities, and any time FSU went on little mini-runs, Georgia Tech would be gifted a chance at the free throw line and would end any momentum FSU had. This game had a total of 39 fouls and 48 total free throw. FSU is a team that relies on momentum and being able to run up and down the floor to wear opponents down. When a game is able to be slowed down due to foul calls and turnovers, it’s usually a bad mix for FSU. With so many foul calls, it allowed so many breaks in the game and Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe both played all 40 minutes because of it.

Some box score notes before heading into the plays.

Like I said earlier, stats aren’t really all that different. FG% and 3PT% were both similar (bad), rebounds and assists were similar, and even though FSU had a lot of turnovers, the steals difference wasn’t astronomical. The biggest difference was FT% and 3-point makes. When everything is about even, making 5 more FTs and 4 more 3s, that’s 17 points you have to overcome somehow*.

*Turning it over 20 times definitely does not help overcome such factors.

For Georgia Tech, Jose Alvarado was unstoppable and annoying. Every play he made was like the game winning play for a national championship, which is a great attitude to have, but man I really want him to graduate. Alvarado finished with 21 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 5 steals. An insane statline. FSU let him dictate the pace of them game, which was the worst thing they could have done.

Moses Wright wasn’t far off from player of the game with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and an insane 6 steals. A handful of his points came in garbage time on fastbreaks, hence why I didn’t list him first, this was Alvarado’s game.

Michael Devoe was the last guy that could not be contained, sort of. He did have 19 points, but he was 4/12 from the floor and 8 of his points came from the free throw line. He did have a dagger 3 with a few minutes remaining, but he was still wildly inefficient all game.

For Florida State, RaiQuan Gray led the way with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, but also had 4 turnovers all in the first half. He was downright awful in the first half, but was Florida State’s best player the rest of the game. His improvement, despite the turnovers, is so much fun to watch.

Scottie Barnes was second in scoring with 9 points and 5 assists, but a lot of them came when the game was out of hand. He has to be aggressive from here on out. He’s unstoppable on both ends of the floor when he’s attacking with 100% effort. I understand he was banged up from hurting his hand in the first half, and may still not be 100% after the ankle injury, but if he’s playing, it has to be at 100% effort.

There is no one else to really talk about. MJ Walker fouled out, Balsa Koprivica and Malik Osborne had 4 fouls each, and 3 separate players had 4 turnovers each. It was a performance to forget for Florida State.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Scenario: 2:08 Remaining in the 1H, GT is Inbounding

This is the first made basket that sparked GT’s 11-1 run to close the first half. They had hit two free throws the sequence before this, but the last thing I wanted to do was watch more free throw, so instead enjoy a Moses Wright 20-footer to take the lead.

Play 2

Scenario: 12:06 Remaining, Scottie Barnes Isolates

I’ll leave it up to you, is this a goaltend?

The foul on the other end wasn’t left in the cut for some reason, but it was a four-point swing at a time when FSU really needed a four-point swing to go in their direction.

Play 3

Scenario: 7:02 Remaining, Georgia Tech is in the Half-Court

This possession should’ve never happened. All FSU had to do was grab a rebound off a free throw and go into transition to potentially make it a two possession game, but instead it ends in MJ Walker fouling out. Walker wasn’t perfect tonight, but his offensive production is something that is needed. He’s a great shooter and can produce off of the dribble although he’s not the best ball handler.

FSU is right back at it Tuesday night at Boston College, a team coming off of a 2 week COVID pause.

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