Jordan Pandy, Correspondent (@JordanPandyFS)
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) –
After returning from New York, the Seminoles continue their home winning streak defeating the Minnesota Gophers 75-67 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Seminoles get their first win in the last nine tries in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Jonathan Isaac recorded his second double-double of the season scoring 14 points and bringing in 13 rebounds.
The first half was hard to watch as the pace of the game was slowed to almost a halt with the referees calling 28 fouls in the first half alone. Both teams were shooting below 35% at the half, but Florida State came out hot in the second half. In the first seven minutes of the second half, the Seminoles went on a 21-6 run – lead by the Noles defense.
“We tried to dictate the pace with our defense: trapping, rotating, not allowing them to come down and dictate the tempo that was convenient for them,” said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. “We had not worked on that type of defensive scheme very much, so to be able to make that adjustment, as an in-game adjustment, I was very pleased that our guys responded very well.”
Dwayne Bacon led all scorers with 18 and also commented on the change of pace in the game.
“In the first half we kind of played their game,” said Bacon. “We weren’t really moving the ball, we were going down slow, not pushing like we regularly do. In the second half we just adjusted to play faster and get stops and move around and get all over the place. And that’s what we did.”
The young players stepped up once more for Florida State as first-year players averaged close to 16 minutes played. Instead of switching players out here and there, Hamilton was using a platoon method for a lot of the game. At one time he subbed out all the starters and had only freshmen and sophomores in the game.
“I looked out once and I saw how many inexperienced players – first and second year players – on the floor and the thought did go through my mind, ‘wow, these guys are holding their own and they’re doing a pretty good job,” said Hamilton. “So that was encouraging.”
Unlike most of the games this season, Leonard Hamilton did not spread out the minutes as much as he previously has been. Bacon and Isaac both went over 30 minutes played, while Terrance Mann finished with 28. An interesting move was having Xavier Rathan-Mayes sit for most of the first half, he played just six minutes, and later going on to recording 16 second-half minutes. He finished with seven points, but helped set the pace for Florida State in the second half.
“The biggest adjustment is that we’re playing a lot of guys – sometimes if you’re a player, you want to get on the court, you want to contribute,” said Hamilton. “Tonight wasn’t one of those games where we got everybody in as much; it was a different kind of game. Keeping them up and them adjusted, keeping them involved is probably the biggest challenge for all of us because we’re going to need the full sum of all our parts working well for all of us to be successful.
The final score made the game look closer than it actually was. Florida State led by 19 points with just five minutes left but surrendered their large lead. The Noles were trying to just run out the clock and failed to run their offense; they failed to record a field goal in the last four minutes of the game. The road ahead for Florida State is only getting tougher, and they need to learn how to close out games better.
Florida State enjoyed their one game at home, but now travel to face George Washington this Sunday.