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March 19, 2013
The end of Florida State's roller coaster 2012-13 season would be come at the hands of effective full court pressure.
The Seminoles turned the ball over 18 times and offered little response for Louisiana Tech's aggressive style in a 71-66 loss in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
Louisiana Tech (27-6), which won the WAC regular season title, utilized its constant full court press to stymie the Seminoles, leading to 26 points off of those 18 FSU turnovers.
"They did a great job of pressing us and creating some indecision on our part," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We threw the ball into traffic, we gave up a lot of deflections that led to easy baskets for them."
FSU (18-16) buoyed the miscues with strong defense, holding La. Tech to 8 of 31 shooting in the first half while taking a 28-24 lead at the break. FSU led by as many as nine early in the second half, but a quick 11-0 flurry from Bulldogs (27-7) - aided by three FSU turnovers - turned that into a two-point deficit. From there, Louisiana Tech pulled ahead and controlled the lead for the most part, holding the lead in the final 3:13.
"I did think our press could be effective, but I've thought that most games," Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White said. His team will take on the winner of Southern Miss and Charleston Southern, who square off Wednesday. "Against most of our opponents, we've been able to have turnover margins be a big factor in the game. So if we went down tonight we were going to go down swinging with what we do."
FSU had a final chance to tie late, trailing 69-66 with the ball after Louisiana Tech missed the front end of the bonus with 37 seconds to play. Michael Snaer couldn't convert his jumper, however, and the Bulldogs' Brandon Gibson converted his free throws with 9.2 seconds to play to ice the game.
"They definitely had us a little disrupted," freshman guard Montay Brandon said.
While the pressure remained effective, Louisiana Tech figured things out offensively, shooting 19 of 29 from the field in the second half (65.5 percent). It was paced by Raheem Appleby, who netted a game-high 27 points on 12 of 19 shooting.
In his final game at Florida State, Snaer scored a team-high 24 points and tied his career high with five three-pointers.
Snaer is the lone FSU senior this season.
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