Busting Brackets

Florida State Basketball: Turnovers cost Seminoles in ACC title game

Mar 13, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lift the trophy after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 80-75 to win the 2021 ACC tournament championship at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lift the trophy after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 80-75 to win the 2021 ACC tournament championship at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

This is the moment No. 2 Florida State basketball and the No. 4 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets have been waiting for; a chance to battle it out for the ACC Championship. The Yellowjackets came into this game looking to pull off a huge upset and win their first ACC Championship since 1993.

The Seminoles looked to defend their title after they were named the tournament champs due to COVID-19 cancellation last season.

The Yellowjackets are coming in hot as winners of seven straight games. They have two of the best players in the ACC on their squad; Moses Wright and Jose Alvarado are the conference’s player of the year and defensive player of the year, respectively. They average 17 and 15 points per game and played a significant role Saturday night.

According to ACC Basketball Report’s Mychal Hunter, Jordan Usher, and Alvarado are the emotional leaders. If anyone is going to keep the team under control, it’s going to be those two.

For the Yellowjackets to pull off an upset, Michael Devoe needed to stay focused the entire game. Wright needed to stay out of foul trouble. Rodney Howard would see time if he picked up early fouls.

Khalid Moore and Bubba Parham needed to play big minutes off the bench also.

Florida State basketball had a significant advantage in this game. Their frontcourt has a lot of size, and the question was how were the Yellowjackets going to deal with the Balsa Koprivica, Tanor Ngom, Scottie Barnes, and others?

Barnes has balled out all year, and everyone should have expected a big performance from him in this game. He had 21 points off the bench.

Turnovers were a significant problem for the Seminoles when these two teams played at Georgia Tech back in January. They turned it over 21 times in the 76-65 loss.

Usher and Wright scored the first two baskets for the Yellowjackets, and RaiQuan Gray did so for the Seminoles.

From there, both teams went back and forth in the first half. The Seminoles were careless with the basketball, which benefited the Yellowjackets and kept the game within reach. Six of the Seminoles’ 11 turnovers were steals. Georgia Tech wasn’t shooting the ball well from the field or perimeter but made up for it with their defense.

All five of their starters were in the scoring column. The Seminoles were reeling down 27-21 before M.J. Walker hit a three to calm things down.

Barnes helped the Seminoles take the lead 30-29 briefly with a three-pointer. The half ended with a Devoe layup to give the Yellowjackets a 31-30 lead.

Devoe had a game-high nine points, and the Yellowjackets scored 19 points off of 14 Seminole turnovers. Florida State basketball shot 50 percent from the field and perimeter in the first half, and they had to take better care of the basketball in the second half.

Koprivica dealt with pain in his right thumb during the first half but had six points and four rebounds at the break.

Florida State basketball came out with a lot more energy defensively and took the lead back thanks to another three by Walker and an uncontested dribble-drive slam by Gray.

Koprivica gave the Seminoles a 39-35 lead with two buckets on back-to-back possessions. The Yellowjackets continued to struggle with their perimeter shot. They were an abysmal 3-of-18 from out there, and their field goal percentage wasn’t much better (35 percent).

Midway through the second half, the Seminole’s lead grew to seven points, 44-37, thanks to an 11-4 run.

Another Seminole turnover led to an Alvarado layup that cut the Yellowjackets deficit to three points, 44-41. He had four points and three steals at the under 12 mark in the second half.

Kyle Sturdivant tied the game with free throws, and another steal by Alvarado gave them the lead 48-47.

The game was tied at 50 with under eight minutes to go, and it was clear that it was going to be decided in the final five minutes.

Koprivica was close to a double-double (11 points, nine rebounds, two blocks), and Walker had 10 points, seven turnovers, and four rebounds. Devoe led the Yellowjackets with 13 points, three assists, rebounds, and steals.

Sturdivant’s excellent assist to Alvarado resulted in a layup that gave the Yellowjackets a 59-55 lead.

Walker hit a wide-open left corner three-pointer to close the gap. The Seminoles were down 61-58 with 3:44 to go.

This ACC Championship Game didn’t disappoint in terms of its competitiveness. Neither team backed down.

Georgia Tech caused another turnover that Wright converted into points. Barnes and Anthony Polite kept the game close with layups. The Seminoles were down 66-62 with 2:10 to go.

The Yellowjackets defeated the Seminoles 80-74 thanks to their pesky defense. They caused 25, yes, 25 turnovers (15 steals) in this game. Devoe, Usher, and Wright scored in double figures, but the player of the game is Alvarado, with his 13 points, five rebounds, five steals, and three assists playing every minute of the game.

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Head Coach Josh Pastner was so proud of his team and made a Hall of Fame pitch for Seminoles Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. Alvarado was emotional when reflecting on the win. He thanked his teammates and said he was proud that his daughter and dad could see him become a champion.

Both of these teams will be in the NCAA Tournament, and they have the talent to make runs.