'Noles in need of some bench energy

Florida State has a deep rotation keeping everyone fresh. Nevertheless, the Seminoles are still in need of somebody to give a genuine spark off the bench, especially with Terrance Shannon out for the year.

Patric Young's performance said it all. His signature block of Bernard James added the exclamation point.

"Whenever you block somebody's shot and pull it down with one hand, that's making ‘SportsCenter'," said Young. "I didn't think I was going to rip it down. It was just perfect."

James isn't looking forward to seeing that highlight time and time again, as Young got the best of him on national television.

Perfection didn't occur for either team Thursday night, but it certainly was more descriptive of Florida's effort than that of the Seminoles. The Gators defeated the ‘Noles by a score of 82-64 to secure a third consecutive victory over their in-state rival.

Florida State's road woes continued, and the Gators were simply the better team. Florida did a nice job of penetrating into the lane and kicking the ball out for open 3-pointers. The Gators shot 36 percent from 3 for the game.

Nonetheless, the Seminoles had their opportunities but weren't able to take advantage. However, the ‘Noles aren't leaving Gainesville without some positives, and they must realize these positives as they continue on their journey toward ACC play.

Losing to a rival is certainly tough to overcome, but FSU has much more to worry about. The Seminoles must put this loss behind them quickly if they are going to challenge in the ACC this season. Conference play begins Jan. 7 against Clemson.

Still, many things came to realization at the O'Connell Center. One of those is that despite some positive play, the ‘Noles have much work to do if they are going to reach their desired goal. There is no shame is being defeated by a top-15 team, but it's no secret that Florida State didn't challenge the Gators the way it would have liked.

Several improvements need to be made.

There is always room for improvement on both ends of court, but most of the changes must come on the offensive end. The slow starts are simply killing the ‘Noles. They have done a nice job of recovering as games progress, but starting in a hole isn't ideal.

That being said, the biggest issue facing this team isn't how they are going to stop the opposition or how they are going to score against the enemy. It's who is going to provide a lift when the team needs it the most.

Make no mistake about it, the ‘Noles as of today are not a national-championship contender and might not even be a threat for an ACC title. Still, they do have the ability to make some noise as the season wears on, but somebody is going to have to supply a boost -- and fast.

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The Seminoles lost their spark when coach Leonard Hamilton announced that Terrance Shannon was undergoing season-ending shoulder injury. Shannon offered scoring and rebounding off the bench, but more importantly he brought an energy boost that nobody else possessed.

Now, somebody else is going to have to find some extra kick inside when the team is struggling to put the ball in the basket or if the defense begins to fail.

The ‘Noles could've used some extra mojo against the Gators, but it never came and they continued to fall as a result. Florida State is going to have to find somebody to come off the bench and stop the bleeding when it's needed most.

The question is: Who will it be?

Matt Ritter is the basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.

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