Noles Roll Easily Over JU

JACKSONVILLE-Florida State basketball coach Leonard Hamilton knows a thing or two about picking up a victory to start a season. The Seminole skipper earned his fourth-consecutive season opening victory in as many seasons at FSU Saturday night as the Noles defeated host Jacksonville University 78-48.

Paced by 13 points from sophomore guard Jason Rich and 12 points from junior swingman Al Thornton, FSU (1-0) beat up on a Dolphin (0-1) squad beginning its first season under coach Cliff Warren.

"It felt good to come out here and start our season with a win," sophomore guard Isaiah Swann, who tallied nine points and four steals, said. "But we know that we are going to have to keep improving because we made some mistakes tonight."

Building such a lead allowed Hamilton to utilize all but one of his players as junior forward Alexander Johnson did not participate due to what was called a "coach's decision".

Playing in their first game as Seminoles, freshmen forwards Uche Echefu and Casaan Breeden registered four and seven points, respectively, and junior college transfer Jarel Allen notched seven points as all three earned double-digit minutes.

But as Swann mentioned, mistakes were made as FSU committed 22 turnovers.

"I felt like those (turnovers) were just?some of them were forced but a lot of them were just silly turnovers," Rich said. "We didn't turn the ball over against the press but after we broke the press we didn't do a good job of flowing into our motion."

And it was in the half-court offense where the Seminoles showed some deficiencies as they struggled to generate many successfully run scoring-plays on that side of the court.

Still, they managed to keep the Dolphins on their toes and in foul trouble, running the court and showing off their athleticism ? a team-wide trait that has been the focus during preseason practice.

"We feel like we give teams the hardest time if we just keep running," Swann said. "If we score at least 80 points a game than the other team's going to have to catch up and with the way our defense is coming around, it's going to be hard for them to do that."

Defensively, the Seminoles caused 22 Jacksonville turnovers and held the Dolphins to just 29-percent shooting from the floor.

Manning the boards for the Noles were Thornton and senior center Diego Romero who notched 10 rebounds apiece as FSU won the rebound battle 51-28.

Romero added 11 points in the post.

After jumping out to a 13-3 lead to start the ballgame, the Seminoles went on a cold streak scoring just six points in nearly seven minutes of play. The defense picked it up, however, as the Dolphins missed several opportunities and never came closer than eight points to close out the half.

"I was most pleased with?we maintained our defensive intensity for the most part," Hamilton said. "We kept rebounding until we got a little run there at the end that extended the game."

The Seminoles face Alcorn State in the home opener Monday before traveling to Gainesville to face the Gators Friday.

Nole Digest Top Stories