By: Jessica O’Connor
By: Madison Read, Correspondent
Nick Pierce, Correspondent
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State simply overpowered Valdosta State on Thursday night, beating the Blaze 104-76 in the Seminoles final preseason matchup.
Valdosta State kept the score close for the first ten minutes of the game, but eventually, FSU just proved to be too athletic. The Seminoles busted the game open with a 20-4 scoring run, giving them a 45-25 lead with 4:47 left in the first half.
FSU had a significant height advantage over the Blaze. This allowed for the Seminoles to score 38 points in the paint during the first half alone, while only giving up four. The faster FSU team also scored 21 points off of turnovers in the first half, while only giving up 5. All of this gave way to a 58-32 Seminole lead at halftime.
Not much changed in the second half. FSU kept scoring points and maintained a double-digit lead. The defense, however, struggled at times to stop Valdosta State, as they gave up 34 points in the final half of play.
“We gave up too many uncontested shots tonight, but I expect us to do better in the future,” said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton. “Tonight’s performance showed that we have a tremendous amount of talent, but it’s still a work in progress.”
Jonathan Isaac led the way for the Seminoles, as the Freshman scored 20 points in only 19 minutes of play. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
FSU opens regular season play Saturday, November 12. They will host Charleston Southern at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.
Jordan Pandy, Correspondent
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State basketball dominates offensively, blowing out Southeastern University 119-58 in their first exhibition game of the season. Phil Cofer was the top scorer for the Seminoles, putting up 20 points in 20 minutes.
The Seminoles were playing much faster than they were last year, 20 of their points came off of fast breaks. A lot of the increase in tempo comes with the slight change of the lineup. The Noles started the game with three guards, one forward, and a center, essentially playing with four ball handlers on the floor at a time.
“You guys have been asking me, ‘who’s playing the four, who’s playing the three, who’s playing the one?’ the only position we really dominate by is the post guy,” said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. “We’re trying to create a system where we’re more difficult to defend because we have multiple handlers, multiple guys who are pushing – anybody who gets the rebound has the ability to push the ball up the court and create early offense.”
One player who seemed to really flourish in this system was second-year guard Dwayne Bacon. Bacon shot 62% from the field, 60% from three, and finished with 13 points. He commented on the, close to, positionless system.
“Like it says in the stat book: guard, guard, guard – we have a lot of guards,” said Bacon. “We want to play all guards and one big. We want to run up and down.”
One of ball handling big men was the number one high school recruit in the state, Jonathan Isaac who made his Florida State debut. Isaac ended the game with a solid double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds. Listed at 6’10” Isaac handled the ball well and was looking to push it on many of his defensive rebounds. Coach Hamilton liked what he saw from his freshman star, but also attributed his success to the offensive system.
“What I saw was effort,” said Hamilton. “This team is going to have to win by committee – he had a night tonight. He’s a talented player but when we move the ball and make the extra pass we’ll create those kinds of opportunities for each other and every night it will be somebody different.”
Isaac also impressed his fellow teammates.
“He’s a freak,” said Bacon. “That guy is just crazy. He’s going to be a great guy for us this year. He can lead us in so many ways. Not just offensively but defensively too – he got a couple blocks and a lot of rebounds. He’s going to be a great addition to our team this year, for sure.”
The Seminoles used a total of 10 players throughout the game, each player played around the same amount of minutes. With the increase of speed this year it is important that players get enough rest during the game, even if that means a slight drop in minutes for some players.
“I’m fine with the rest because we have fresh guys that come and they can lead off right where we [first unit] left off,” said Bacon who averaged almost 29 minutes last season and played 23 in this game. “We have guys this year that, when we get out and they come in there won’t be any difference in game. Those guys will still compete at the highest level. When we come back in, we can play at our highest level – every time I come in I feel like I’m fresh.”
The Seminoles looked good but, according to coach Ham, there is still a lot to work on. The next preseason game for the Noles will be against Valdosta State November 3rd at 7pm.
Nick Pierce, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Friday night’s annual kickoff party to the FSU Men’s basketball season provided much entertainment for the hundreds of fans in attendance.
This year’s Jam with Coach Ham was 80’s themed, and the team was introduced with strobe lights and a fog machine. The players came out wearing throwback jerseys, while coaches were clad in hippie and disco attire.
After a quick warm-up, it was time for the 3-point contest. C.J. Walker, the four-star recruit from Indianapolis, beat out Mfiondu Kabengele to win the contest.
Following the 3-point contest was a 24-minute scrimmage between teams Garnet and Gold. It quickly turned into an alley-oop contest. Big men Christ Koumadje and Michael Ojo threw down dunk after dunk. Ojo, a fifth year Senior from Lagos, Nigeria, missed all of last season due to a a meniscus tear, so it was great for Seminole fans to see him playing again. Team Garnet went on to win the scrimmage 75-72, after Xavier Rathan-Mayes hit a deep buzzer beater.
The final event of the evening was the always enticing dunk contest. There were lots of great dunks on the evening, but Phil Cofer won the contest with a high-rising tomahawk dunk. Like Ojo, Cofer also missed all of last year with an injury, so fans were excited to see him healthy.
While there’s only so much to that can be said about watching a team mess around in front of their fans, FSU certainly showed that they have lots of individual talent. Last year, the Seminoles fell just short of the NCAA Tournament. But this year, with Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon returning to a team that brought in two top-50 recruits (Jonathan Isaac and Trent Forest) hopes are high.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Seminoles did not make it look easy, but earned their first win in this year’s NIT beating Davidson 84-74. Freshmen duo Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley were top scorers combining for 44 points.
Davidson shot well from behind the arc for the entirety game, shooting 39.4%, but the Noles played tough and with intensity in the second half and came out on top.
Sophomore Peyton Aldridge had only five points at the end of the first half for the Wildcats but finished with 16 after knocking down three threes in the second half. Junior Jack Gibbs led the team in scoring with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
“You have to give them [Davidson] credit; I thought our effort was good,” Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“They’re a good basketball team and they executed. It wasn’t as much about what we were not doing, I just think you have to give them credit.”
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday, upsetting No. 23 Notre Dame 77-56.
The Fighting Irish came into the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency. The Seminoles, however, held them to just 56 points, a season low.
“They’re tremendous perimeter shooters, so we had to be able to catch them and contest their shots,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “That makes a big difference when you have to shoot contested shots versus uncontested shots. I think that gave us an opportunity to get stops because our guys were just conscious of the fact that if we were not able to catch them, they would knock them down.”
Florida State never trailed. Dwayne Bacon hit a three to start the game, and the Seminoles never looked back. With the score tied at seven with just over 15 minutes to play in the first half, Florida State went on a 9-0 scoring run, surging to a 16-7 lead.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State came into the Wednesday night matchup against Georgia Tech needing a win to keep their NCAA Tournaments hopes alive, but the Yellow Jackets had other plans as they stole one in Tallahassee 86-80.
The Seminoles (16-10, 6-8) had beaten Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-9) 10 consecutive times previous to the Wednesday night matchup. This Yellow Jacket win was their first against Florida State since 2007.
“I don’t know if you ever get over those tough losses, but you are able to build up scar tissue a little bit. I think our guys took a big step tonight in finishing the game,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Miami led the entire second half, but Florida State had the ball with a chance to tie with just 27 seconds left in the game.
However, Xavier Rathan-Mayes dribbled the ball off his foot after Dwayne Bacon couldn’t find a hole in the Hurricane defense and Miami won 67-65.
Miami started off the game strong taking an early lead and continuously outplaying the Seminoles. Benji Bell gave the Seminoles life in the first half, hitting a corner three and seconds later after a steal in transition, Bell took the opportunity nailing another three from the same spot.
Then Terrance Mann grabbed a rebound off a Hurricane miss and went coast-to-coast for an and-1. That gave Florida State their first and last lead of the night 15-14.
Miami responded quickly with a layup by Davon Reed, and the Hurricanes led the rest of the game with Florida State knocking at the door.
Devon Bookert scored 14 points for FSU (16-9, 6-7) and Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 12. They were the only Seminoles in double figures.
Freshman Malik Beasley had scored in double figures all 24 games this season, but the Miami defense limited him to just six points.
McClellan, pictured below, led all scorers with 20 points and Reed added 14. Rodriguez finished with 11 points and six assists for Miami (20-4, 9-3).
Florida State now takes on Georgia Tech this Wednesday at 9pm.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – After a poor start in conference play, Florida State records a huge win at home against ACC rival Clemson 76-65.
The Seminoles (14-7, 4-5) played with high intensity and a sense of urgency throughout the entirety of the game. Freshman Dwayne Bacon led the team in scoring notching 21 points, 15 in the first half, and also grabbed six rebounds.
The Clemson Tigers (13-8, 6-3) played in a 2-3 zone for most of the game, which gave Bacon a lot of room to score down low.
“I’m good at attacking from either block or the short corner,” said Bacon. “That’s what coach Ham told me to do. He said when I get it there, just attack; and that’s what I did.”
Jordan Giorgio, Correspondent
Jordan Giorgio, Reporter
Florida State will face No. 20 Pitt Saturday @4pm