© St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2003
TALLAHASSEE -- For a half Saturday, Florida State looked as if it would get its first win in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Seminoles could not keep up with North Carolina State, losing their fourth conference game 70-63.
The Seminoles at times outplayed the Wolfpack, but when the teams switched ends for the second half, the Seminoles switched to the team that has won only eight conference games in the past two seasons.
"Playing in the ACC we have very little room for error," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We have to play a perfect game to compete with ACC teams."
After a last-second basket by Clifford Crawford gave the Wolfpack a 32-30 lead at halftime, Florida State (9-6, 0-4) came out cold and N.C. State (9-4, 2-1) put together a run.
Spurred by Julius Hodge, who had eight of his 22 points in the first eight minutes of the second half, and Marcus Melvin, who had four of his 21 points in the first six minutes, the Wolfpack slowly built a seven-point lead at the 12:48 mark. Melvin also had 10 rebounds.
"We need Marcus to play well; our frontcourt is a little depleted now," N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. "We had a good talk last night and he told me that he did a lot of thinking about his responsibility to the team."
The Seminoles had their chances to trim the N.C. State lead, but their free-throw shooting late in the game mirrored the frigid Tallahassee weather.
Trevor Harvey missed six free throws down the stretch.
N.C. State, however, sank key shots from the line to keep FSU from rallying.
At the start, the game looked similar to FSU's 89-62 loss to Maryland on Jan. 11 when it turned over the ball several times as the Terps opened with an 18-0 run.
The Wolfpack opened a 6-0 lead with two 3-pointers after FSU turned over the ball on its first two possessions.
A Harvey tip-in got the Seminoles on the board and a 3 from Tim Pickett pulled FSU within one.
From there the game remained tight with neither team able to take control as the lead changed six times and the score was tied four times.
The Seminoles have lost eight straight to the Wolfpack dating to a 71-59 win on Jan. 23, 1999.
"When we needed a play to be made, it was N.C. State that made the big shots and grabbed the rebounds," Hamilton said. "We didn't take advantage of our opportunities."