|No. 17 Florida State takes win streak to Georgia Tech|
Two teams going in opposite directions meet for the second time this season when No. 17 Florida State visits Georgia Tech on Saturday in Atlanta.
Florida State (19-5, 7-4) has won six straight and become one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The last time the Seminoles won six straight ACC games was 2011-12 when they won the ACC Tournament and won their opening-round game in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia Tech (11-14, 3-9) has lost six straight and eight of its last nine. The Yellow Jackets have had offensive woes all season and rank last in the ACC in scoring with 65.6 points
The teams met on Feb. 2 at Tallahassee, with Florida State taking a 59-49 victory. Georgia Tech was with six points with six minutes left before the Seminoles put the game away.
Florid State has been sparked by the play of Mfiondu Kabengele, who is averaging 17 points and shot 58 percent from the floor over the last six games. He led the team with 12 points in the last previous meeting with Georgia Tech.
"I think he's only scratched the surface of his potential," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's really doing a nice job of being more and more confident. We're putting him in a position where he has a chance to have some success."
Kabengele remains the team's sixth man but continues to lead the Seminoles in scoring (13.4 points) and is third in rebounds (5.3) in only 20.1 minutes per game.
In Wednesday's 88-66 drubbing of Wake Forest, it was senior Christ Koumadje who made the biggest difference. The 7-foot-4 center produced 20 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner changed the focus and tempo of the offense on Wednesday and the Yellow Jackets came close in a 76-68 loss to No. 22 Virginia Tech.
Pastner abandoned the previous game plan of pounding the ball inside to big men James Banks and Abdoulaye Gueye. He put Gueye on the bench after only four minutes and went with a smaller, quicker lineup.
The ploy had some advantages - at least for one night. The Yellow Jackets used a 14-0 spurt before halftime to take a 30-27 lead at the break, and refused to go away in the second half, even when the Hokies stretched their lead to double-digits on a couple of occasions.
"We had to size down, get more fluidity on offense," Pastner said. "We had more opportunities. We played a little faster and got more possessions."
One player who benefited from the change of strategy was freshman guard Michael Devoe, who scored a career-high 22 points and made four 3-pointers. Devoe had 18 points in the previous game against Notre Dame. Banks carried the load in the paint with 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
"Michael Devoe is playing at a high level," Pastner said. "And James Banks is playing at a high level."
But the troubles continue for guard Jose Alvarado, the team's leading scorer at 11.4 points. The sophomore was 2-for-10 from the field and scored four points against Virginia Tech. Over the last four games he is 5-for-40 from the floor.
"Jose had some nice looks," Pastner said. "He's got to play better for us. I love Jose, but it's going to be hard for us until he starts making some shots."
--Field Level Media