Close Call

Florida State coach <B>Leonard Hamilton </b> had a feeling that a night like Friday was going to happen. He had seen it in practice the week before, a lethargic team that surprisingly lacked focus. Well, the Seminoles opened their regular season with hard-fought 71-62 victory over Texas Southern. It wasn't the most impressive win by any stretch of the imagine, but it was a win nonetheless. And that's important.

The Florida State Seminoles may not have been fully prepared for Friday night.

Thankfully, Diego Romero was ready.

So was Ralph Mims.

Romero had a game-high 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Mims added 17 off the bench, just enough to lift the Seminoles past Texas Southern 71-62 in their season opener.

"We're having a difficult time trying to come up with a rotation, a group of guys that are capable of going out and playing the way we feel we can play," Coach Leonard Hamilton said.

"Tonight was one of those nights that you hope you learn from."

Romero and Mims also led the team in rebounding, recording nine and seven respectively.

Texas Southern's Sean Walker cut the Seminoles' lead to four, 61-57, on a pair of free-throws with 4:28 remaining in the game.

Al Thornton and Romero made sure TSU didn't come any closer.

Thornton blocked the Tiger's next shot, which would have moved them within a basket, and added another moments later.

Romero chipped in with a block of his own and four points in the final two minutes.

"I think we had an opportunity to cut it to two, but we didn't get the big rebound," Texas Southern Coach Ronnie Courtney said.

"We work on blocking out and we didn't do it at the end."

The Seminoles' offense struggled to find any rhythm at the start of the game, missing their first five shots. Mims entered shortly after and converted a lay-up to break a 4-4 tie, followed by a three-pointer.

"It made me relax. When I first came out on the court I was a little nervous," Mims said.

Said Hamilton of Mims: "He's got a lot of Tim Pickett in him."

Walker led Texas Southern with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Justin Wilson added 14 points and two assists for the Tigers.

Florida State shot 55.9 percent from the free-throw line and committed 16 turnovers to six assists, but managed to maintain the lead for most of the game.

"We were slacking," Thornton said.

"I think we took this team for granted."


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