Originally created 01/19/00

Tech, FSU moving in different directions; face off tonight



ATLANTA - Georgia Tech opened the Atlantic Coast Conference with two consecutive losses. Florida State started its league schedule with two victories.

Both streaks turned directions last Saturday.

When the 7-7 Seminoles visit Georgia Tech, 8-7 overall, tonight at 7:30, they will try to regroup from an 82-57 loss to Duke. The Yellow Jackets, however, will try to build on their 69-68 win over then 16th-ranked Maryland.

"This team really needed something good to happen, and we finally got over the hump with a great win against Maryland," Tech coach Bobby Cremins said. "Hopefully, we can gain some confidence and build on that win. We all know it won't get any easier."

The victory over the Terps not only snapped a three-game losing streak that included an 80-71 loss at No. 24 Kentucky, it signaled a change in the team's emotional approach. In most games, the Jackets have lacked confidence and mental toughness down the stretch. Against Maryland, however, they failed to melt in crunch time.

Now the challenge is to keep it going.

"Florida State has gotten off to a good start in the ACC with a great win at Wake Forest and then a win over Clemson," Cremins said. "They're very athletic on the perimeter, and Ron Hale has been sensational."

Hale, a 6-foot-9 forward, is fourth in the ACC with a 16.9 points a game average.

All five of Tech's starters average in double figures. Jason Collier, a 7-0 forward, is second in the league with an 18.2 points a game average and second in rebounding at 9.7 a game.

The rest of Georgia Tech's starting lineup includes 6-11 center Alvin Jones (11.9 points), 6-6 forward Jason Floyd (11.7), 5-11 guard Tony Akins (11.3) and 6-3 guard Shaun Fein (10.4).

In Saturday's loss to Duke, Florida State played its best half of the season to lead 34-32. Minutes later, the played one of their worst halves to lose by 31.

The Blue Devils hit nine of their first 10 shots after halftime to pull away.

"In the first half, we were the aggressor," said Seminoles coach Steve Robinson. "In the second half, they were the aggressor."

After Saturday night's game, Georgia Tech will play at North Carolina State on Saturday before returning home on Jan. 27 to play Wake Forest.