Foul troubles spelled trouble

Florida State capitalized on the Gophers miscues, sinking 27 free throws.

Luke Middendorf

The Gophers got down early against the Seminoles on Tuesday, and were unable to mount any kind of comeback mainly because of foul trouble, committing 24 players’ fouls to put Florida State in the bonus early in each half.

Minnesota picked up their seventh foul with 7 minutes and 10 seconds left in the first half to place the Seminoles on the free-throw line, a spot in which they became very comfortable.

The Donald L. Tucker Center seemed to put the Florida State shooters at ease early in the game, knocking down 9-of-9 from the foul line in the first half.

The second half wasn’t much of a different story, as the Gophers again put themselves in a tough position with their seventh foul of the half coming with 12:45 left in the game.

The Seminoles took advantage of nearly every Gophers foul, whether it was a hard hack under the basket or a slight reach on the perimeter, and finished the game converting 27-of-32 field goal attempts for an 84 percent clip.

Minnesota in comparison only managed 10 shots from the foul line and made just six.

Turnovers aplenty

During their 75-61 loss to Florida State on Tuesday, the Gophers struggled with ball control and getting good looks at basket.

The Seminoles came out with a spark of energy and a full-court trap that seemed to take Minnesota by surprise.

From the very first play of the game, freshman point guard and first-time starter Al Nolen threw an arrant pass for the first of his three turnovers.

Less than a minute later, another Gophers turnover led to an easy layup for the Seminoles, one of many Tuesday night.

The Gophers used a variety of players at the point, including Nolen, senior Lawrence McKenzie, sophomore Lawrence Westbrook and sophomore Kevin Payton, but none of the above could handle the intense pressure by the Seminoles.

Minnesota decreased its 24 turnovers from Central Michigan on Saturday but still gave away 18 on Tuesday, 11 coming from FSU steals.

Going along with the inconsistent guard play, senior post players Dan Coleman and Spencer Tollackson were unable to get the ball in good position on the block, leading to many forced shots and passes.

The Seminoles’ ball pressure on the wings forced Minnesota to pass the ball mainly around the perimeter, keeping it out of the hands of the Gophers top two scorers where they normally do their damage.

Coming-out party

One bright spot from the Gophers loss Tuesday was the emergence of freshman shooting guard Blake Hoffarber.

Hoffarber nearly doubled his minutes against the Seminoles with 22 and responded by putting up a career high in points with 12, hitting two three-point field-goals and finishing 5-of-9 from the field.