Ham's adjustments working for 'Noles

C Xavier Gibson (US Presswire)

Forced to deal with a longer layoff between games, Florida State struggled through the first 20 minutes vs. Georgia Tech but put together another dynamite second half to turn away the Yellow Jackets.

Florida State reverted to its former self Wednesday night against Georgia Tech.

Fortunately for the No. 21-ranked 'Noles (15-6, 6-1 in ACC), their better half emerged in the second half.

Showing the negative effect from a week off, plus the continued struggle to play consistently well, no matter the opponent, the 'Noles trailed Georgia Tech at halftime before rallying for a 68-54 victory in Tallahassee.

The win kept FSU in a first-place tie in league standings and set up Saturday's pivotal home game against No. 16 Virginia in a battle to stay on top at the exact midpoint of the ACC schedule.

"We're definitely not satisfied. We know we've got work ahead of us, especially this Saturday," said FSU forward Bernard James. "We're playing a top-25 team. This will definitely be a test for us. I think the way we got things going in the second half, we'll be able to carry that over into Saturday."

But here's the amazing part for FSU. While it was a struggle, after going into halftime down 25-24, the Seminoles managed to win a sixth consecutive ACC game for the first time in 19 years and have a 6-1 record in ACC play for the first time in school history.

They did this despite scoring their fewest points in a half since the embarrassing loss to Clemson on Jan. 7 that ignited this team into dramatic change.

"This team is learning when you move into the upper echelon of this league, you are going to take every team's best shot," FSU coach Hamilton said. "I thought this team came at us and played an excellent game. If we hadn't turned it up a notch, we wouldn't have had to opportunity to come away with a 14-point victory like we did."

TRENDING: There is something about the second half and Hamilton's locker-room adjustments that has benefited FSU. The Seminoles scored 44 second-half points in the win against Georgia Tech. FSU hasn't scored less than 44 in the second frame since the Virginia Tech game.

The Seminoles shot 61.5 percent in the second half against Georgia Tech, their third game in a row with at least 60-percent shooting in the second half.

NOTES AND QUOTES

The 'Noles won four straight games against teams from the state of North Carolina, after wins against Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and their win against NC State to end league play last season. ...

FSU scored at least 75 points in four straight games through the weekend. ...

Over its past four games before facing Georgia Tech on Feb. 1, FSU was 33 for 70 (.471) in 3-point shooting through the weekend. The Seminoles made only 30 percent of their attempts in the first dozen games. They also limited their turnovers (11) for the third game in a row.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- FSU has won its last three games against teams ranked in the Top 5, beating Duke and North Carolina this year and Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament last year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't like breaks. I like to keep it going to stay focused. I don't like sitting around and just practicing and practicing. I'd rather compete." -- Florida State C Xavier Gibson on the Seminoles' full-week gap between games.

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