In 7th heaven
Victory over Yellow Jackets ties best ACC streak in school history
ATLANTA — Christ Koumadje and No. 17 Florida State featured a balanced scoring approach.
Georgia Tech could barely score — again.
Koumadje had 10 points and 12 rebounds Saturday as the Seminoles tied a school record with their seventh straight ACC win,
69-47 over the Yellow Jackets.
Freshman Devin Vassell came off the bench to score a team-high 11 points while playing in his hometown for the Seminoles (20-5,
8-4). Seven Florida State players scored between seven and 11 points.
Georgia Tech (11-15, 3-10) lost its seventh straight ACC game as it again struggled on offense.
Jose Alvarado broke out of a lengthy slump with 17 points, but the Yellow Jackets made just 8 of 36 shots from inside the 3-point arc. They’re averaging 53.1 points during their skid after their seventh and eighth halves of scoring 25 or fewer points.
The 7-foot-4 Koumadje took just seven shots, making five. He was even more of a factor on the defensive end as he blocked three shots as Tech made just 6 of
28 in the paint. The Jackets’ big men, James Banks III (two points) and Abdoulaye Gueye (five), made a combined 3 of 16.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said the Jackets play “probably the best matchup zone scheme that I’ve seen in my coaching career.” While the Seminoles shot 39.1 percent, the Jackets’ imbalance on the offensive end caused them to fall behind by as many as
27 in the second half. The teams were tied at
10-10 before the Jackets fell into the first of multiple shooting freezes, and Florida State stretched the lead to 31-15 on a layup by Terance Mann with 4:27 left.
Phil Cofer, David Nichols and Vassell each had a pair of 3-pointers in the first half for FSU before Banks finally got loose for a dunk shortly before halftime to pull Tech within 34-23.
Hamilton said his team “crowded” Gueye with frequent double-teams on most of his possessions. When Tech stationed Banks at the high post, the Seminoles sagged off him and let him shoot jumpers. He hit just 1 of 9.
Other than Alvarado — who made 6 of 11 to snap out of a six-game streak in which he had made 10 of 59 — Georgia Tech connected on just 10 of 48 shots(20.8 percent).
“Our guys give everything they have on the defensive end [to] give ourselves a chance,” Jackets coach Josh Pastner said. “We have just had a real issue with scoring.”
Spreading it around:
Tech often doubled Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele, who had eight points on 2-of-5 shooting, but Mann wasn’t surprised by his team’s offensive balance or that Vassell became the ninth player this season to lead the team in scoring.
“Christ is coming into his own,” Mann said after having seven points and eight rebounds in a game in which the Seminoles had a 50-38 rebounding edge. “That’s just what we do. We’re 18 strong. Every night it’s different.”
Tech played without sophomore forward Evan Cole, an occasional starter, and assistant Julian Schwartz was also absent. Both are fighting flu-like symptoms.
“I didn’t know until this morning if (Alvarado and starting guard Michael Devoe) were going to play,” Pastner said. “They weren’t able to practice the last couple days.”
Sick and tired:
The first time the Seminoles put together a seven-game ACC winning streak, in the 2011-’12 season, they went on to win the ACC tournament.
This also cemented a fourth consecutive season with 20 or more wins overall, matching a run from
2009-’12 that also was under Hamilton.
The Jackets keep churning their lineup, as freshman forward Kristian Sjolund made his first start and sophomore Moses Wright started for the first time in more than a month. Sjolund scored 19 points in Tech’s previous two games after scoring just nine combined all season before that, and he can shoot. They were replaced to start the second half by Gueye and Brandon Alston. Sjolund had 11 points, including three
3-pointers, and Wright scored two.
Florida guard Andrew Nembhard had a hot hand Saturday, hitting all nine of his field-goal attempts to spark a victory over Alabama.