Florida State pulled away from the Citadel 66-55 on Tuesday night. The Seminoles had dropped three straight games and needed a win to get back on track. Florida State was without starting guards Devin Bookert and Aaron Thomas again after Thomas was rushed to the hospital during halftime of Sunday’s Florida State-Umass game. The Noles led by just three at halftime before Xavier Rathan-Mayes took over.
This marks the second game that Rathan-Mayes has started, and he’s making the most of it. He had his second straight game over 20-points, scoring 26 points on just 9 shots. He was 8-9 shooting, 5-5 from the three-point line, and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. 15 of his points came in the second half.
Coach Hamilton was pleased with how Rathan-Mayes has bounced back from his poor shooting early.
“I thought it was just a matter of time,” Hamilton said. “I would love it to, but I don’t expect that to happen every night. I thought that he was challenged mentally and emotionally and he wanted to go out and help his team win. I thought he gave us a good effort on the offensive end and on the defensive end.
Montay Brandon also had an exceptional night scoring 19 points, 18 coming in the second half, and pulled down 8 rebounds in 38 minutes. Brandon was 6-8 from the field and 7-10 from the free throw line. Brandon focused on driving to the basket to get his points and was extremely effective.
Brandon talked about what changed in the second half for him.
“I was just being more aggressive,” Brandon said. “We didn’t want to lose another game. We had already lost three games in a row and I just wanted to do whatever it took to win the game tonight.”
One area where Florida State will need to get more production is the center position. Kiel Turpin played just 10 minutes after getting into early foul trouble and finished with just 2 points and 1 rebound. Michael Ojo was easily Florida State’s best big man tonight. He played 20 minutes and had 5 points and 4 rebounds.
Florida State pulls to 2-3 on the season and will look to get back to .500 on Friday against Charleston Southern.