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In the span of just two days, Florida State's quick start has turned into a mid-season hole.
For the second consecutive game, the Seminoles' defense - the team's biggest strength in the early part of the season - struggled to defend the perimeter, and North Carolina State freshman Scott Wood took full advantage.
Wood torched FSU for 31 points - 21 from beyond the arc - to lead the reeling Wolfpack to an 88-81 win over the Seminoles in front of 9,709 fans at the Tucker Center.
"This is the second game in a row where our defensive focus and intensity did not match the opponents offensive execution," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. When you look at the stats, you see that we did a pretty good job on their top scorers, but we faltered because - Wood is a great shooter and we have seen what he is capable of, but I was very disappointed that we could not find a way to limit his consistency."
FSU's first two-game skid in nearly two years has the Seminoles looking up at the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference after just three league games.
Florida State (13-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has failed to capitalize on its overtime win at Georgia Tech back in December, and the Seminoles now must rebound quickly if they are to keep pace in the ACC. FSU hosts Virginia Tech on Sunday, then will play No. 20 Georgia Tech at home before traveling to No. 8 Duke.
"To come in and lose two ACC games in a row, you've got to bounce back," junior Derwin Kitchen said. "You don't want to lose three and be at the bottom. If you lose three, then you've got to climb up the rest of the year."
Wood, whose 31 points more than doubled his career-high, was 10 of-15 from the field, 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, and single-handedly outscored the Seminoles from 3-point range.
"I've never wavered in my confidence in [Wood] shooting the basketball," N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said. "I think tonight was just an indication of well he can shoot it, especially when he gets open for those shots. He was on fire, as they say. He was on fire."
FSU's defensive struggles were only exacerbated by the 'Noles inability to generate much rhythm on offense.
The Seminoles were 26-of-57 from the field (45.6 percent), but as was the case against Maryland, were hampered by missed lay-ups and dunks.
Deividas Dulkys, one of FSU's top scorers in recent weeks, found himself locked down by N.C. State's defenders, and made his first and only field goal midway through the second half.