In what resembled more like a physical game of the Big East, FSU dished out equal punishment on the visitors from south Florida. Again an aggressive defense was the key as the Hurricanes shot just 30% from the floor. On the other side, FSU was cruising along at a 49% shooting rate with 9 of 19 from behind the arc.
Leading the way once again for FSU was Tim Pickett with 17 points, a game high, all in the first half. A high-flying slam dunking Anthony Richardson added 14. Todd Galloway was the only other Seminole in double figures with 11. However, every single player that wore garnet and gold in the game scored points.
A sloppy error prone game in the beginning saw Miami take its only lead of the game on a Rafael Berumen putback. It did not take long for FSU to take the lead for good when Pickett nailed one of his four three pointers from above the key. Following a nice pass down the lane by Nate Johnson to Michael Joiner for an easy layup, Pickett canned another three from the left wing. Well executed ball movement involving four players set up the play.
After Richardson and Galloway added baskets from in the paint area, FSU led 12-2 at the 14:42 mark.
Jones cut the score in half, 14-7 with a three. FSU still attacked the basket with Galloway's circus layup and Joiner finished off a fast break with another easy lay in. Galloway's two free throws upped the lead to 20-7 with just over ten minutes remaining in the half.
Miami closed the gap to 20-14, but with the Miami defense now set to stop the inside game, there were no hands in the face of any FSU perimeter shooter. The Noles' nailed four three-pointers in the next couple of minutes and now led 34-20. FSU went cold over the last 5:09 and Miami converted free throws to close the score at the half to 39-28.
Apparently allowing 52% shooting by FSU, Miami Head Coach Perry Clark probably had a little something to say in the locker room as the Miami defense stepped up their defensive effort in the opening minutes of the second period. With the defense changed up, FSU turned the ball over on the first possession and Miami scored five quick points to pull within six, 39-33.
Florida State responded to the challenge by going on an 11-0 run. Johnson scored the first five that included a three from way above the key. Joiner, who had passed up a three moments before, made one from left of the key. Wilson added a free throw when he was fouled on the play that probably injured the wrist. The run was capped off when Joiner redirected a high and hot pass into the cylinder.
FSU played with the lead aggressively on defense, but fouls began to pile up. Miami whittled the lead down to 57-47 with 9:55 left in the game. And FSU responded again.
With the Hurricanes playing tight defense and FSU apparently running a little clock, Trevor Harvey's turnaround 12 foot jumper with four seconds on the shot clock started a 9-0 Seminole run. The highlight of the run was Adam Wasleskowski's desperation three point shot from twenty five feet out. With the Hurricanes now forced into fouling, the FSU lead grew to the largest of the game at 66-47 with just 5:05 to play. Miami tried, but could not get the lead to less than thirteen. Not willing to foul because of the large deficit, Miami was content to just challenge shots.
Despite the large differential, FSU did not play soft defense as evidenced by Joiner's contesting and blocking a Hurricane breakaway layup with just fifteen seconds left.
Although Hamilton said his team still needs to better understand where they need to be in his motion offense system, he stated the team is getting closer. But he was heartened by the fact that, while Pickett was shut out in the second half, other players contributed points. FSU scored equal amounts in both halves with thirty-nine.
The best example of Hamilton's committee approach could be seen in Wasleskowski. The long bomb was his only points in the game. But, he pounded the boards hauling in 9 rebounds giving FSU key possessions and opportunities for second chance points. Add in Pickett who did not score in the final twenty minutes but contributed on the defensive end with steals and blocks and it's obvious why Hamilton says his defense is ahead of his offense.
While taking the week off for exams, the team will get a long break to work on that offense. FSU won't play again until next Sunday against Birmingham Southern. Tip off is set for 2:00 PM.