Florida State started off this game really strong, being up double digits for the majority of the first half, capping out at a 16-point 27-11 lead. Then the offense went stagnant as SC went zone and South Carolina slowly but surely worked their way back into it to make it a 36-30 game at halftime. After starting 3/4 from 3, FSU closed the half 3/10 from deep. They closed the last 6:29 with no made field goals.
Then for the second half, it was just an utter collapse, watching a train slowly come off of the tracks. FSU just looks lost against a zone right now. Part of it is youth, part of it is just not making shots and not seeing open men. It's a struggle to watch sometimes. South Carolina is not a good team and Florida State has plenty of talent. This one just came down to execution, and SC had a 10-0 run in a span of 1:16 that was majorly FSU's fault. It was blow for blow down the stretch, and FSU had a look at the buzzer, but fell 66-65 to a bad South Carolina team.
Something has to get fixed or change. This team has too much talent, and you can see the glimpses. This is the second straight game where they see a zone defense, start hot, and then just fall off offensively. Part of it is guys aren't seeing the open looks they can generate for other. Either way, this is the first time this season where I've actually been concerned about the team.
Box Score Notes
If it wasn't for FSU willing themselves to the free throw line, SC could've won by a lot more. The bench points and points in the paint are astounding, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw Florida State get doubled up in bench points. This isn't a Florida State team any of us are used to seeing, at least not recently.
Malik Osborne was great for FSU, even with the missed buzzer beater. 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals is a solid stat line, and he seemed to show up when FSU needed him most, like with the block on SC's final possession.
Caleb Mills was inefficient with 13 points on 4/13 shooting. I would've preferred him in the high post when SC went zone because he's the best at creating for himself and potentially others. He has a certain gravity that no one else has right now. He's shown the capability to be a great passer, it's more about the willingness at this point.
Jalen Warley was aggressive and showed flashes, as did John Butler, but Butler in particular was lose against the zone. There was one possession where he passes and Osborne was screaming at him to cut and it still took him a second. Guys just have to get used to it, and that's part of this team's issue; they just don't know how to execute currently. They need to watch out because teams are going to see this and start running zone a lot more.
For SC, Devin Carter was fantastic and made some really tough shots down the stretch, finishing with 16 points and 7 rebounds. James Reese V had his own 8-0 run in the middle of the second half that propelled SC to the lead and they didn't look back. It kind of shellacked FSU a little bit, rustled their feathers, if you will.
Onto the plays.
Scenario: Getting Going From 3
After the disgusting performance from 3 against Syracuse, it was good to see FSU come out and hit their first 3. The shot gave them some confidence and this opened a pretty big scoring run for Florida State. It also helps that it came from a local kid, John Butler, who was a perfect 3/3 in the first half. It would've been really nice to keep this up for the game.
Scenario: Malik Osborne Closes the Gap
Florida State needed some offense down the stretch, and this 3 from Osborne was huge. Gave the team some momentum, some positive vibes to get the crowd and the team back into it. Great ball movement.
Scenario: Malik Osborne misses at the Buzzer
Man this is a great look, and Osborne has been the best shooter on the team this season. You really can't ask for a better look. And you can see how upset Malik is that he missed the shot. Two games in a row with a missed 3 at the buzzer for him.
Florida State comes back home to play Lipscomb Wednesday night at 9pm.