In 7th heaven

Vic­tory over Yel­low Jack­ets ties best ACC streak in school his­tory

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Matt Winkeljohn

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.

Big pic­ture:

Florida guard An­drew Nem­b­hard had a hot hand Satur­day, hit­ting all nine of his field-goal at­tempts to spark a vic­tory over Alabama.


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