Matt Vautour: UMass, FSU: arena rims made a difference

Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
SUNRISE, Fla. — Just days after the University of Massachusetts and Florida State posted memorable offensive performances, the Minutemen and Seminoles delivered miserable shooting efforts in FSU’s 60-55 win, Saturday.

Independently of each other, both teams pointed at the BB&T Center’s rims. The arena is the home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and it’s only used for basketball for this event, the Orange Bowl Classic. All the basketball equipment in the building rarely gets used.

“In warm-ups guys were complaining about the rim and weren’t happy about the rim,” Seminole guard Aaron Thomas said. “You weren’t able to get the shooter’s roll.”

UMass guard Chaz Williams thought it changed the game.

“That’s what it was. I’m not one to blame the rims, but I felt like if it was a different type of rim we would have blown those guys out,” he said.

Thomas questioned whether the rims were breakaway rims (they are) because of how tight they were.

Entering the game, UMass averaged 83.9 points while shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 40.8 percent from 3-point range. But the Minutemen shot 20 for 60 (33.3 percent) and 1 for 15 (6.7 percent) from behind the arc. Williams (4 for 14) and Sampson Carter (2 for 12) were particularly affected.

Florida State wasn’t much sharper shooting 36.9 percent (24 for 65) and 14.3 percent (1 for 7) from 3-point range, well below its averages of 50.4 and 35.3 percent, respectively.

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said UMass’ 3-point woes made a difference.

“They have three or four guys shooting 36 percent plus from the 3-point line,” Hamilton said. “For them to be 1 for 15 was a big factor in the game.”

ALL-TIME SERIES — The win gave Florida State a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series. The teams could meet again next year as both are in the field for the Hall of Fame Tournament at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. If they do meet it would be the fifth different arena that the two schools have played at.

FREE THROWS — The rims may have affected free-throw shooting as well. UMass’ 14-for-24 performance from the line marked its second straight tough game from the line. The Minutemen shot 10 for 19 against Ohio. Derek Gordon, who has struggled from the line all season, missed his first four, but made his last four.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage