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December 11, 2011

FSU plagued with turnovers in win over UNCG

As point guard Luke Loucks watched his routine post entry pass bounce out of bounds for yet another Florida State turnover, he gazed at at the floor with his hands on both knees.

It was that kind of afternoon.

Despite a comfortable 75-60 win over lowly UNC-Greensboro, the Seminoles expressed more concern that joy as it amassed a season-worst 26 turnovers and struggled to pull away from the 2-7 Spartans until the the final 10 minutes.

"Definitely the negatives outweighed the positives in this game," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.

The Seminoles (7-3) were off their game from the outset, turning the ball over on each of its first five possessions. They would go back and forth with the Spartans throughout the first half - they even trailed the Spartans 26-25 with five minutes left in the half - before taking a 34-28 lead into the break. FSU allowed UNCG (2-8) to collect 11 offensive rebounds and coughed up 14 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

"I don't know. I can't even give you an answer for all of the turnovers, they just keep coming and coming," junior Michael Snaer said with a sigh. Snaer had three turnovers himself and was one of seven FSU players with at least three turnovers.

"We do as much we can in practice to get away from turning the ball over in practice, we listen to the coaches, every other game we just invent ways to turn the ball over - we fix one way and the next game we come out and find a new way to turn the ball over over. It's just on our team right now, we've got to figure something out."

Entering Sunday, FSU ranked 319th among 338 Division I-A teams as it averaged 17.9 turnovers per game. That number will increase and the ranking will drop after the 26 against UNCG on Sunday.

Snaer's hot hand allowed FSU to pull away midway through the second half. After an 0-of-6 performance in the opening half, Snaer scored 11 points in a span of 3:05 that pushed a 43-40 FSU lead to 58-45 with 7:51 to play. The Spartans would never get closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Sporting a much smaller lineup, UNCG, a team with 20-plus point losses to the likes of North Carolina A&T and Middle Tennessee State, hung with FSU on the glass (FSU won the rebounding battle 35-33). But the Spartans were just 5-of-23 from three-point range and also turned the ball over 21 times.

"Our goal was to get it, rebound and go, we didn't want to get into a lot of halfcourt stuff," UNCG head coach Mike Dement said. "Because they're halfcourt defense, we were going to have problems scoring or getting good shots."

Snaer netted a team-high 14 points while Xavier Gibson and freshman Terry Whisnant added 11. The 11 for Whisnant broke his career high of eight set in the Seminoles' last game.

While Florida State entered Sunday's game after five days off, it will get another seven before it takes the floor again against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 18.

The Seminoles will hope to find a way to right the turnovers that caused much struggle on Sunday.

"This team is challenging all of our coaching skills, but I still like this team," Hamilton said. "I think this team is going through some transition now but I do believe that we might be slightly ahead of where we were last year. I think before the year is out we can be a pretty good basketball team. Right now, it's obvious that we need to improve."



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