After Florida State's 56-54 loss to Clemson Wednesday night, coach Leonard Hamilton appraised his Seminoles with what could be the motto for FSU's season: Consistently inconsistent.
"This has been one of the few times in my coaching career that I've had to repeat this on several different occasions," Hamilton said.
He did it after shocking home losses to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Florida International. It was evident in a blowout loss to Louisiana State. But there are the games when the Seminoles were the opposite, an overtime loss at Maryland and an upset win over Florida.
This was not one of those games.
Playing in front of 7,293 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, FSU gave the game away with 22 turnovers as the Tigers (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a 12-game conference road losing streak.
In the days after the Seminoles' sloppy win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Hamilton dissected each of FSU's 28 turnovers in that game.
"I thought we had a clear understanding of how to take care of the ball," Hamilton said.
The Seminoles (9-7, 1-2) were further hampered by poor shooting from leading scorer Von Wafer (2-of-8, 1-of-6 on 3s) and seven turnovers by senior forward Adam Waleskowski.
Still, Wafer got a final shot off from the corner with less than three seconds left on a set play out of a timeout, but it clanged off the rim.
"I kind of rushed it a little bit," said Wafer, who had been averaging 17.8 points in the past five games. "I thought it was going to go in. It felt good, but I didn't really get my feet set."
Wafer went scoreless through a first half in which the Seminoles held Clemson below 29 percent shooting but still trailed 27-26 thanks to 15 turnovers and a number of offensive putbacks.
"We are not a high-power, high-octane offensive team, so we have to defend and rebound and get on the floor for basketballs in order to win this league," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said.
The Tigers had 18 offensive rebounds and 17 on defense as they outscored FSU 17-2 on second-chance points.
"We just didn't find that sense of urgency to block out and rebound," said center Alexander Johnson, who led all scorers with 20 points but had only three rebounds. No other FSU player had more than five points or three rebounds.