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Turnovers and poor shooting cost Florida State in their 61-56 loss to Mercer

Dec 2, 2012, 4:36 PM EDT

Leonard Hamilton AP

Given the fact that Florida State lost multiple veterans from last season’s ACC champion squad some ups and downs were to be expected. But few people would have expected the team that won the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn to drop home games to South Alabama and now Mercer.

In an ugly offensive showing for both teams the Bears came out on top in the end, with Travis Smith (13 points) and Langston Hall (ten points, five assists and five steals) leading the way in Mercer’s 61-56 victory.

Okaro White led the Seminoles with 14 points before fouling out late in the second half, but he was the lone double-figure scorer for Leonard Hamilton’s team. With the defeat Florida State drops to 4-3 on the season.

The Seminole guards struggled from the field, with Michael Snaer, Ian Miller, Terry Whisnant II and Montay Brandon combining to shoot 5-of-19 from the field, and forward Terrance Shannon (11.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg entering Sunday’s game) made just one of his seven shots from the field.

As a team Florida State shot 35.4% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times, opening the door for the team picked to win the Atlantic Sun in the preseason media poll.

Bob Hoffman’s team didn’t shoot much better from the field, making 37.5% of their shots, but unlike Florida State the Bears made up for that at the foul line. Mercer made 19 of their 23 free throws, including a 4-of-4 stretch in the final 23 seconds, while Florida State shot 16-of-26 from the charity stripe.

Florida State is now 2-3 at home this season with No. 7 Florida visiting on Wednesday night, and given the presence of losses to South Alabama and Mercer on their resume that game becomes even more important than your standard “rivalry game.”

The issue for Florida State hasn’t been shooting, as their field goal percentage ranked second in the ACC (not counting today’s result), but rather turnovers. Sunday’s game is the fifth in which Florida State has turned the ball over at least 17 times, and while they did win three of those games (Buffalo, BYU and North Florida) Hamilton’s young team has to take better care of the basketball.

The growing pains may not be done for the Seminoles given their overall youth, but they better grow up quickly with the Gators headed to town.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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