Scratching the Surface

Following their convincing 97-57 victory over Purdue Tuesday evening, the Florida State men's basketball team's biggest supporter wasn't the raucous Leon County Civic Center crowd.

Instead it was Boilermakers coach Matt Painter. The first-year skipper provided some very kind words for the squad that just handed his team an embarrassing loss on the road, particularly in regards to FSU's athleticism.

"You can't simulate that type of athleticism and that type of size," he said. "I thought they did a great job of getting above us and taking away that first pass. They did a great job and had a dunk contest there for awhile.

"I think they've got a very good team. I was very, very impressed with them."

The dunk contest that the Purdue ball coach spoke of came near the end of the first half as the Tribe was putting the finishing touches on a period of play highlighted by 64-percent shooting from the field and several highlight reel plays that had the Seminole faithful on their respective feet.

The offensive explosion that led to 58 points at the break and 97 total points at game's end was a welcome sight for a team that has been priding itself on strong defensive showings through first four games of the season.

"It was fun out there," sophomore guard Isaiah Swann said. "Everyone was sharing the ball and we were unselfish and that's basically it. The other night at Florida we started off great and we just couldn't keep it up and we looked at the film and saw what we had to do better. We came out tonight and executed our game plan and stuck with it."

In the loss to the Gators last Friday, the Garnet and Gold were only able to muster 66 points in a gritty, foul-ridden contest. That wasn't the case Tuesday, however, and as Painter mentioned, the Seminole athleticism was perhaps the primary reasoning for that.

On the break and through the air, FSU outran the Boilermakers on the defensive end of the court, which helped create a plethora of high percentage shots en route to 60-percent shooting for the game.

"I think what sets us apart is that we are so athletic," Swann said. "Everybody can do just about anything. On the defensive end, we are so quick that we can get in the passing lanes on our first step. We can break on the ball easily and get a lot of steals and deflections that just set up the offense so nicely."

While some may question the level of competition that the Seminoles have faced to start the year, with a daunting Atlantic Coast Conference schedule looming come January, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton hopes that his young squad can continue to get better as they build off an all-around impressive showing Tuesday evening in Tallahassee.

"The ease that we won the game was surprising to me," Hamilton said. "I believe this team still has only scratched the surface of our potential. I think that we have so much more room for improvement."


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