- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton switched starting lineups despite being without his top scorer Wednesday night. A three-game losing streak will lead to a few experiments.

The moves, plus hosting a struggling Virginia Tech team, were the right combination.

Aaron Thomas hit a career-high six 3-pointers and scored 24 points to lead Florida State to a 70-50 victory over Virginia Tech in Atlantic Coast Conference action.

“Our game plan was to put our most aggressive, most physical players on the floor at the start of the game just to give us a little more energy,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t expect them to come out and play zone as much as they did. … Our players responded appropriately.

“We had tremendous energy on the defensive end and we had a much better balance in our offensive attack.”

Thomas warmed up in the second half with a stretch of three consecutive 3-pointers to give Florida State a 15-point lead. Okaro White finished with 15 points and eight rebounds as the Seminoles (14-8, 5-5 ACC) played without leading scorer Ian Miller (ankle).

Will Johnston scored 12 points for Virginia Tech (8-14, 1-9) while Cadarian Raines added 13. The Hokies entered the game as the worst shooting team in the conference with a field goal percentage of 37.3 in conference play. They shot 34 percent in the loss.

Virginia Tech has lost nine consecutive games.

“I just had to be aggressive whenever I step on the court,” Thomas said. “After the second or third 3, my teammates told me to keep shooting. They did a good job of finding me and I was able to knock down shots.”

Hamilton sat point guard Devon Bookert and center Bojanovsky at tip-off in favor of Thomas and Michael Ojo. The start was Ojo’s first of the year and the second for Thomas. Miller, who normally is the first off the bench, sprained his ankle in a loss to Clemson last week. Hamilton hopes to have him back Saturday against Maryland.

The lineup change - and a slower pace forced by a Virginia Tech zone - equated to the Hokies missing more shots (12) than Florida State attempted (10) in the first 11 ½ minutes of the game. Field goal attempts, however, didn’t matter against struggling Virginia Tech

The Hokies shot 29 percent in the first half and trailed 31-20 at halftime.

“We slacked up the last couple games,” White said. “Kept staying on guys that everything starts on the defensive end and let’s try to make up this game for the past when we didn’t hold teams under 35 percent, 40 percent.”

Florida State used a 9-2 run to the close the first half and extended its largest lead of the game to 11. The run was keyed by the rare five-point play when Montay Brandon hit a 3-pointer as Jarquez Smith was fouled near the basket. Smith then hit both free throws.

Thomas buried three consecutive 3-point baskets early in the second half, the last with a hand in his face, to bump the Florida State lead to 15. The Hokies had cut the lead to nine, but didn’t have enough offense to hang around.

Virginia Tech finished with 15 more field goal attempts, but Florida State shot 43.5 percent from the field. The Hokies have lost 11-of-12 and haven’t won a game in 2014.

“We didn’t play as smart as we need to play against a very good defensive team,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “They were just a little overmatched. They were just a little better.

Aaron Thomas took the game over tonight. … I thought the zone was good for us until he took the game over. He was the difference in the game tonight.”

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