Thursday, April 24th, 2014

FSU Works Hard for the W

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It is a certainty that when the schedule came out Loyola Marymount (picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference) circled the date with Florida State and they played like it.

Numerous times the Seminoles would eek out a small lead only to see the Lions come back by putting enormous pressure on FSU’s defense.

But in the end FSU managed to earn a hard fought 74-63 win.

It wasn’t until 8:30 were left in the game that Michael Snaer hit a three pointer from the right corner and the nearly four minutes later hit from the opposite corner following an offensive rebound to give the ‘Noles a 61-54 lead with 4:55 to play.

A minute later Devidas Dulkys added a three from way above the key to give FSU its first double digit lead of the game, 66-56.

Vernon Teel almost made it a four point game with less than three minutes to play when he knocked the ball away from Chris Singleton but could only make one of two free throws.

A floater by Derwin Kitchen made it 68-61 at the 1:40 mark.

What basically sealed the victory for the ‘Noles was when Snaer missed a three with one minute to play but FSU was able to grab the rebound running off twenty four seconds before Teel fouled Singleton giving FSU a new thirty five seconds, just two seconds shot of the time left on the game clock.

With LMU forced to foul, Kitchen, Singleton, and Snaer rattled off six straight free throws to close out the Lions.

Leonard Hamilton credited FSU’s bench as a key in the win outscoring the Lion’s bench 25-10.

Interestingly Hamilton who likes to rotate a lot of players during a game road the backs of four starters and Bernard James for nearly all of the second half with three players logging 33 or more minutes and Singleton on the court for 29 despite having four fouls.

Luke Loucks and Jon Kreft (who had two very nice moves for his two baskets) played just seven minutes. Ian Miller did not play for the second straight game.

Hamilton’s strategy paid off even though the Seminole defense overall struggled to stop the Lions who shot 47% against the nation’s number one field goal percentage defensively.

Hamilton attributed that to LMU’s game plan where the Lions constantly drove the ball at the Seminoles. Unable to set the defense it was “either foul or not” and allow Loyola to get the layup.

And they did earning 28 points in the paint.

Fortunately FSU earned a few more (34).

Singleton led four Seminoles in double figures with 15. James and Dulkys added 11 and Snaer in his homecoming game scored 10.

The Lions had three in double digits led by Drew Viney’s 16 points.

Hamilton noted several positives other than playing a tight game like this and earning the win. Among them were the 19 assists to just 14 turnovers. Kitchen, who was at times too unselfish, was the leader in that statistic with seven assists against 4 turnovers. Snaer also was excellent in distributing the ball with 4 assists and no turnovers.

FSU was also able to convert 13 LMU turnovers into 20 points versus only 8 points off FSU’s miscues.

The game proved to be a good test in preparation for the continued trip out west with FSU heading to Hawaii for its next game in the Diamond Head Classic. The ‘Noles will take on host Hawaii on December 23rd with the game scheduled for a 1:00 AM tipoff (expect it to be later and set your alarm clocks). The game will be aired on ESPNU.

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