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Slow start dooms FSU

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- On a day when five Florida State seniors were honored, the team made too many rookie mistakes that led to Saturday's 86-78 loss to Georgia Tech in the Leon-County Civic Center.

The Seminoles committed 18 turnovers, four in the first two minutes, and gave up six 3-pointers to Tony Akins.

The loss, its ninth in the conference in the past 10 games, means FSU ties Clemson for worst in the ACC. The teams face each other in the play-in game Thursday at the ACC tournament.

"When we put our heads together, we can beat Duke," said shooting guard Monte Cummings, one of the four honored during Senior Day. "When we play apart, we can lose to Georgia Tech by 31. That's the biggest thing, we have to play together as a team."

FSU senior Antwuan Dixon made a free throw after being fouled making a difficult layup to cut the Yellow Jackets lead to 77-75.

But Georgia Tech's Luke Schenscher had a three-point play 36 seconds later. He added a dunk, and Akins hit four free throws.

"If there are five guys playing better basketball in the ACC than Tony Akins, you have to show them to me," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.

Akins tied a season-high with 28 points and seven assists.

"Sometimes you work hard and it works against you," FSU coach Steve Robinson said. "You're trying to catch up, you got to gamble a little bit, and I give credit to Georgia Tech in the job they did and found the open guys at the right time."

The Seminoles never led and trailed by 14 when Akins hit a 3-pointer with 15:57 left.

Center Nigel Dixon, who led FSU with 17 points and nine rebounds, sparked a 13-0 run with a layup at 11:44 in the second half. Trevor Harvey's dunk at 8:26 cut the lead to 60-59, but the Seminoles got no closer.

Tech's Ed Nelson had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. FSU fifth-year point guard Delvon Arrington added 10 points and nine assists.

Robinson honored seniors Adam Krieg and David Anderson by giving them their first starts.

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