Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles Fighting 'Basketball Demons'; Today's Miami Mission: Bounce Back from Home Loss to Clemson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles Fighting 'Basketball Demons'; Today's Miami Mission: Bounce Back from Home Loss to Clemson

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, The Times-Union

MIAMI -- Lineup shuffles, private talks and public condemnation have all be part of Leonard Hamilton's search for a solution to Florida State's inconsistency on the basketball court.

Resorting to an exorcist may be the next step, and it would be appropriate given Hamilton's return to his old haunt today.

Attempting to rebound from Wednesday's 66-64 home loss to Clemson, the Seminoles visit red-hot Atlantic Coast Conference newcomer Miami. It was Hamilton who put the Hurricanes back on the basketball map during a 10-year run, culminating with three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

First-year coach Frank Haith has guided the Hurricanes (11-3, 2-1) to consecutive league wins -- against N.C. State and at Virginia -- and will try and extend the Seminoles' ACC road misery in front of an expected sellout crowd at the Convocation Center. FSU is trying to snap a 25-game ACC road losing streak.

"We're going to keep fighting demons; I call them the basketball demons of the world," Hamilton said. "You always seem to be fighting them. They lurk behind the backboard and in the floorboard and they creep up and keep you from doing the necessary things to play as well."

Protecting the basketball, rebounding, executing offensively and playing with a consistently high energy level are preventing the Seminoles (9-7, 1-2) from building any kind of momentum. In the process, FSU's postseason aspirations are quickly slipping away.

Four of the Seminoles' next six games are against ranked opponents, including two on the road, where they have not won since the 2001 regular-season finale at Clemson. The ACC record for consecutive league road losses is 30.

Picked to finish last in the ACC, Miami followed up Sunday's 67-66 home win over N.C. State with 91-80 road victor over Virginia on Wednesday. The Hurricanes have received stellar backcourt play from Robert Hite (19.1 ppg), Guillermo Diaz (17.5) and Anthony Harris (12.9). Diaz had 26 points in each of his last two games.

The Seminoles have been out-rebounded in three of their last four games. …

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