Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

FSU Toughs Out A Win


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Chris Singleton summed it up best, it did not feel like a 20 point win. On paper it was a twenty point win, but it wasn’t all that easy for the Florida State Seminoles in beating North Florida 75-55.

For whatever reasons, first game jitters or just very early in the season, the Seminoles came out tentative to start the game and worse yet the second half where the Ospreys went on a 20-6 run to close the score to 50-45 with 10:45 to play.

The Seminoles struggled for the first minute plus in the game to score, but a steal finished off by a jumper by Devidas Dulkys got FSU on the scoreboard. Three steals and nearly a fourth by Dulkys (he eventually got that fourth steal later in the game) led to a 14-2 lead seven minutes into the game.

FSU stretched out the lead to 30-17 on a transition layup by Derwin Kitchen at the 7:52 mark.

The highlight baskets during that stretch were a quick reverse layup from along the baseline by Bernard James and from fellow newcomer Okaro White whose slam dunk offensive put back got the crowd’s approval. To add insult to injury for North Florida, White was fouled on the play despite the defender trying to duck for cover.

The Ospreys closed the margin to 32-20. But the Seminoles controlled the final six minutes of the half with five different players scoring plus James coming out of no where to block a shot that was initially a one on three break for the Ospreys.

Plagued by foul trouble in the first half with three fouls each on Chris Singleton and Xavier Gibson it didn’t get any better to start the half when Gibson picked up his fourth at the 18:26 mark.

Gibson eventually fouled out with 8:14 left after re-entering the game just thirty seconds earlier.

With FSU’s post depth limited due two reserves on the bench in street clothes (Terrance Shannon, ankle, Jon Kreft, suspension), fortunately for the ‘Noles James was available. And he certainly made his debut a memorable one earning his first double double (15 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with three blocked shots.

His presence was a needed factor after North Florida closed the gap.
With FSU now on its heels, the Ospreys to it to their hosts behind ten straight points by freshman Parker Smith outscored the ‘Noles 20-9 in the first 9:15 of the half. Meanwhile the Seminoles could not buy a basket with numerous close shots just clanging off the rim.

A momentum changing play occurred Luke Loucks buried a three pointer from the right corner. A steal ensued on the next possession finished off by a thunderous dunk by Singleton. Defense took over once again when the Seminole defense forced a five second violation out of a timeout.

The Ospreys could only manage two significant plays from that point on while the Seminoles went on to outscore North Florida 25-10 to close out the game.

Joining leading FSU scorer James in double figures were Dulkys with 12 with Singleton and Kitchen each adding 11.

Smith led all scorers with 16 points.

When Leonard Hamilton said after the game that his team is “by no means a finished product”, he was not kidding. Half court offense remains an issue with numerous self inflicted turnovers (15 for the game). One assistant coach however expressed a definite need to improve on defense despite forcing 22 Osprey miscues.

But certainly the elements are there to get better.

That process to improve continues on Sunday when the ‘Noles travel to UNC-Greensboro in a game set up by former FSU Associate Athletic Director Kim Record who is now the AD at UNCG. Tip off is at 3:30 PM and will be aired on FSSO/FSFL.
“Seven years of college down the drain.” 1 day and holding.

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