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Lineup changes don't help Seminoles

By ALEX ABRAMS

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 3, 2002


TALLAHASSEE -- After a 77-46 loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday, in which Florida State shot 35 percent, coach Steve Robinson decided to make some lineup changes.

TALLAHASSEE -- After a 77-46 loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday, in which Florida State shot 35 percent, coach Steve Robinson decided to make some lineup changes.

Power forward Michael Joiner, who made the ACC all-freshman team last season but has struggled lately with his shooting, was benched. Sophomore Mike Matthews was moved from center to power forward to allow junior college transfer Trevor Harvey to make his first start. The changes did not help as the Seminoles lost their third in a row, 89-80 to No.24 Wake Forest on Saturday before 6,471 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.

"It hurts," Robinson said. "The biggest thing in this league is you have to have the ability to stop (losing streaks) and bounce back.

"There is no relief. There are no breaks."

FSU dropped to 10-10, 3-6 in the ACC entering Thursday's game at top-ranked Duke. The Seminoles handed the Blue Devils their only loss of the season 77-76 on Jan.6.

During most of Saturday's loss, FSU could only stand at the free-throw line and watch the game slip away.

Wake Forest (16-6, 6-3) made 26 of 30 free throws, including 18-of-19 in the second half. With 2:56 left, Monte Cummings hit a jumper to pull FSU to 77-70.

But Darius Songaila, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, responded by hitting two free throws, and Broderick Hicks converted on all six of his attempts in the final 1:17 to secure the win.

"(Friday) at practice, every time we shot free throws, I asked the guys, "Why did Maryland beat UVA?"' Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said, referring to the 25 of 26 free throws the Terrapins made during a 91-87 victory over the Cavaliers on Thursday.

"It's like the kicking game in football. It really adds up."

FSU missed 7 of 16 free throws.

With backup center Nigel Dixon out because of the flu, FSU relied on Harvey.

But the junior picked up his third foul with 5:16 left in the first half and sat during most of the second half.

With FSU lacking size inside, Songaila attacked the basket. With 14:54 left, the 6-foot-9, 248-pound forward tipped in a miss by Antwan Scott to extend the Demon Deacons' lead to 49-37.

FSU began converging on Songaila. That left Hicks with many open looks. The senior, who lost his starting position three games ago in favor of freshman Taron Downey, scored 19 in the second half for a career-high 23.

Cummings scored a team-high 23, and Delvon Arrington added 14 despite shooting 5-for-14 from the floor.

"The bottom line, we've got to start putting the ball in the bucket," Arrington said of FSU, which shot 31-for-71 (43.7 percent) from the field.

"You can get a whole bunch of rebounds. But if you aren't putting that ball in that bucket, it doesn't mean a thing."

-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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