FSU loses their third game in a row, dropping one at Clemson

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 12:50 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Noles247) - Florida State lost their third consecutive game, dropping one to Clemson, 75-69, on Wednesday evening at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. Clemson led for 38:32, as the game featured just two ties. The Seminoles (13-8, 6-5 ACC) never led in the game. They trailed by as many as 12 points, but were within two points with 2:25 remaining against the Tigers (12-9, 4-6 ACC). Down the stretch from that point on, the Tigers made six of their eight free throw attempts, while FSU’s lone points were a pair of free throws by Anthony Polite.

“Obviously the game didn’t turn out the way wanted it to turn out,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game. “I thought the first half, defensively, once again we didn’t defend nearly as well in the first half as I thought we did in the second half.

“I thought that we played fairly even there in the first half until the last two minutes of the first half, and they went on an eight or nine point run,” Hamilton continued. “Second half I thought our defense stepped up a little bit and we were able to do a much better job. But I thought that today Clemson got the stops they needed and it seemed as though they got big baskets, they got to the free throw line a little more consistently than we did, and there lies a five-point loss.”

FSU trailed Clemson, 45-36, at the half. The Seminoles never led in the opening half. They tied it at 30-30 with 4:15 remaining, but were outscored 15-6 down the stretch heading into the locker room.

FSU, who is now 3-3 in ACC road play this season, was led by 16 points from Caleb Mills. RayQuan Evans added 11 points. They were the lone Seminoles in double figures.

As a team, FSU was 26-of-54 (48.1%) from the field, including 7-of-22 (31.8%) from deep. FSU was 10-of-16 (62.5%) at the line. Polite, who had five points, had a team-leading five rebounds. John Butler (9 points) and Jalen Warley (1 point) each had three assists. FSU had 16 assists, compared to nine turnovers. The Seminoles also recorded nine steals and six blocks.

Center Naheem McLeod injured his right hand early on against Clemson and was unavailable for the remainder of the game. Without McLeod, the Seminoles were dominated on the glass - 37-24. The Tigers also outscored FSU, 32-24, in the paint. After the game, Hamilton said McLeod broke a finger on his right hand.

“We are a little short-handed, Naheem broke his finger. So he is probably out for six-to-eight weeks I’m sure,” Hamilton said.

Clemson had four in double figures led by P.J. Hall, who had 15 points, including 11 points in the second half. Clemson’s bench outscored FSU, 32-22. As a team, the Tigers were 27-of-52 (51.9%) from the floor, including 6-of-15 (40.0%) from deep. They iced the game from the line, where they were 15-of-21 (71.4%) on the evening. The Tigers had 15 assists and 14 turnovers, but they valued the ball better in the second half committing just five turnovers in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers recorded four steals and had two blocks.

FSU leads the all-time series 45-35. Clemson has won three straight at their home in the series. FSU and Clemson will face one another a second time on the season on February 15th in Tallahassee.

FSU returns home to host Wake Forest on Saturday at noon. It will mark the first of two consecutive home games as FSU welcomes Pitt for a Wednesday tip at 9 p.m. next week.