The Daily Nole

FSU Still Needs Work Putting Teams Away athletics

Close games haven’t been overly common for Florida State of late. During the Seminoles’ 6-game winning streak, FSU is winning by an average of 24.5 points per game against mostly sub-par competition.

Still, one area where the Seminoles could stand to improve is closing out basketball games. The most glaring example came in FSU’s only loss as the Seminoles let an 18-point second half lead slip away in an 89-86 loss to Temple in Brooklyn on Thanksgiving Day.

In its closest game since on Sunday, the Seminoles prevailed over the rival Gators, 83-78, but the victory probably could have been much more convincing.

An Xavier Rathan-Mayes triple with less than 12 minutes to go put the Seminoles up by 13, 61-48. Florida would whittle that lead to as little as three in the final minute and FSU dodged a bullet as Florida’s KeVaughn Allen missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

With a chance to put Florida away, the Seminoles played poorly on both ends of the floor down the stretch. A Florida team who had shot just 39 percent up until that point shot 14-for-24 or 58 percent to close the game while FSU, who had shot 50 percent to that point, closed the contest by shooting just 4-for-13 or 31 percent. The Seminoles also turned the ball over three times without forcing one.

Lackluster finishes are nothing new for FSU this season. Against Minnesota last month, the Seminoles allowed the Golden Gophers to go on a 13-1 run to whittle was a 19-point lead with less than four minutes to play down seven in the final minute. Against George Washington earlier this month, FSU allowed the Colonials to close the game on an 18-2 run in a 67-48 victory for the Seminoles.

Allowing late runs with mostly reserves on the floor and the game already in hand is one thing. Doing it when it’s not will eventually get you beat.

Though the Seminoles were able to survive the late onslaught from Florida, finishing games is an area FSU will need to shore up. With the start of ACC play just two weeks away, Florida State is going to likely find itself in more nail-biters like they were on Sunday against Florida than laughers against the likes of George Washington, Southern Mississippi and Nicholls.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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