By Ken Cross
So the Florida State Seminoles lost Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and Malik Beasley to the NBA in the last two years, coach Leonard Hamilton has this team at the point where he can recruit consistently at a high level and plug new players in that will perform.
Monday night’s 83-66 win over Florida gave FSU it’s signature win on the young season as it was the ‘Noles fourth in a row over the Gators.
“These games are important because it’s the next game,” acknowledged Hamilton, “This was a very important game because we have tremendous respect for them. It’s a quality win and at the end of the season these victories mean a lot. 4-0, I don’t know what that really means.”
Feeling when you beat the 5th ranked team on their home court. pic.twitter.com/dOB4Ao7c2a
— FSU Men's Hoops (@FSUHoops) December 5, 2017
Florida State dictated the tempo nearly the entire game through it’s 2-3 zone and a patient offense that found the Seminoles getting high percentage shots and converting. The usual FSU depth and length played a key roles as FSU had a 51-34 advantage on the boards as well as 24 points off 23 offensive rebounds.
“Our goal was to be aggressive on the boards and when you can get those rebounds it definitely helps us out,” said guard Terance Mann, “People were doubting us on the rebounding because we were allowing a lot of offensive rebounds and not getting many defensive rebounds, so it was our goal to be aggressive on the boards.”
These Seminoles were at a (+4) on the glass for the season, coming into the game, but with the length and size, the team felt like it should be more dominating as it was Monday night. In addition, they held the Gators 33 points below their average as Florida was netting 99.5 points per game while allowing only 36 percent from the floor not he evening.
“With Florida, they are such a tremendous shooting team and they have such good ball handlers and passers,” explained Hamilton, “They brought a little extra energy out of us tonight. We did a good job of contesting shots, but when we did take shots they knocked them down.”
The Seminoles finished the first half on an 8-0 run, fueled by Phil Cofer who had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, after Florida had garnered a 35-34 advantage. M.J. Walker’s three-pointer with 13:39 remaining gave the Seminoles a 59-46 lead as Florida never brought the ‘Noles advantage under double figures for the rest of the evening.
“We were pressing from the jump,” said Florida’s Mike White, who noted that the Gators had too much offensive urgency, “It was ‘how quickly can I get a shot up,’ putting our head down against a team that does a good job swarming to the basketball and taking charges.”