Team effort leads FSU past St. Peter's

Florida State picks up 11th victory of the season, now breaks for the holiday before playing Providence Dec. 29.

Sometimes you have to take the good with the not-so-good.

In Florida State's case, a 76-63 victory over visiting St. Peter's Saturday afternoon was keyed by a box score that featured five players scoring in double digits – including two that weren't in the starting lineup.

FSU shot the ball well from the floor, too. Forty-eight percent from the field and just under 47 percent from the 3-point line looks good on the statistics sheet. A bench that scores 29 points also helps.

But there's a reason that a MAAC team with just three wins record wasn't handed a more thorough beating on the road by a Seminoles squad looking for and eventually achieving its seventh straight win.

Florida State (11-2) was outrebounded 25-42, including a 7-17 disadvantage on the offensive glass. They were outscored in the paint 26-34 by the Peacocks (3-8). FSU big men Uche Echefu and Ryan Reid mustered just a combined six rebounds and six points.

Six-foot guard Isaiah Swann matched theircollective output with a team-high six rebounds.

"That was real point of concern but that's kind of who we are," FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We don't have the wide bodies. We don't take up a lot of space. We have to have guys play with tremendous effort to neutralize guys on the boards.

"We've got to do a much better job rebounding from here on out. We aren't going to have the luxury of spotting people this many rebounds."

Counteracting the rebounding discrepancy was a balanced offensive attack from not only the starters but from the bench as well.

Senior forward Al Thornton led FSU with 14 points while Swann chipped in with 12 of his own. Reserve players Ralph Mims and Casaan Breeden scored 11 points apiece and guard Jason Rich added 10.

Backup guard Jerel Allen posted five points and brought some defensive intensity off the bench.

"Its important with our team is to have great chemistry and team spirit," Hamilton said. "We are going to need quality depth because we are not really dominant enough in other places."

Added Breeden: "Anybody on our bench is capable of scoring. We all play and act like we are starters and we all play good together whether you are in the starting lineup or not."

Florida State shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and managed just nine rebounds compared to 19 by the Peacocks and took a 36-32 lead into the break. Thornton led all scorers with 12 points in the game's first 20 minutes. The Seminoles had nine turnovers in the period, five of which occurred in the first four minutes of the game leading to an early St. Peter's 6-0 lead.

FSU has a five-day break for the holidays before traveling to play Providence in Tampa on Dec. 29. The Seminoles then return home to kick off conference play against Clemson Jan. 3.

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