Florida State's Alabi leads Seminoles

Tuesday night, the Florida State basketball team took to the hardwood for their first exhibition of the season. The Seminoles handled Delta State with ease to start the season off right.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Naismith and Wooden Award candidate Solomon Alabi scored 16 points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked three shots in 18 minutes of play to lead Florida State to an 81-38 victory over Delta State in an exhibition basketball game at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Alabi scored his game-high of 16 points to lead all 12 Seminoles in the scoring column – he was joined by sophomore Deividas Dulkys in double figures as the sophomore sharpshooter totaled 10 points.

The Seminoles' victory over the Statesmen was the Ninth Annual Aubry Boyd Charitable Foundation game. Boyd, a four year letter-winner for the Seminoles from 1988-91, was injured during a pick up football game in 1995 and was paralyzed from the neck down. In the accident Boyd broke the fourth vertebrate in his neck, leaving him a paraplegic.

The game was the first of two exhibition games before their Nov. 16 regular season opener against Jacksonville for the Seminoles. The Seminoles played in the ACC Tournament championship game for the first time in school history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season as they finished with a 25-10 record and a in fourth place in the ACC standings.

"I thought that we gave pretty good effort on the defensive end," said Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton whose team outrebounded its opponent 50-36 and blocked six shots. "We were very active and got a lot of deflections which I was very pleased to see.

"However, I think we were a little anxious offensively," continued Hamilton. "I think we are a much better field goal percentage (shooting) team than what we showed tonight, but that is why I like playing exhibition games in front of the public. I think that is part of the growth pattern of the preseason to get in front of crowds and officials. It gives you an opportunity to get over that."

Alabi played well on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court for Florida State. Offensively he scored 16 points on eight of 11 shooting from the field while defensively he pulled down six rebounds and blocked a game-high three shots. He also added one steal.

Alabi finished as the Seminoles' second leading scorer last season with an 8.4 points per game scoring average and became only the seventh freshman in ACC history to lead the league in blocked shots with 73.

"We got the ball inside a little more than we have in the past," said Hamilton of Alabi's presence in the paint. "We still didn't have the right balance; we need to get the ball kicked out a little more on the perimeter. We want to get at least 25 post touches per game. I thought we came close. We might have had 27 or 28. We are trying to put a lot more emphasis on that this year."

With all 12 Seminoles getting in the scoring column a total of seven Seminoles scored at least seven points. Among those were returning starting forward Chris Singleton (seven points and five rebounds), junior guard Derwin Kitchen (eight points, four assists and only one turnover) and sophomore forward Xavier Gibson (eight points and five rebounds).

Florida State's heralded freshmen class of Terrance Shannon and Michael Snaer also played well in their first taste of live collegiate game action. Shannon scored eight points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked one shot in 17 minutes of action and Snaer scored five points and pulled down four rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

"I think it was a little emotional for them (Terrance and Michael)," said Hamilton. "I thought they got a little stiff early. Terrance was extremely aggressive like he normally is. I think he got tired really quick, but that is part anxiety, just the inexperience and excitement of the first game. I thought that Michael was a little tight, obviously. He is a much better shooter and scorer than what he showed, but that is why you have these games. I thought he did some nice things. I thought he did a very good job of pressuring the ball."

Junior Jordan DeMercy led Florida State with nine rebounds in 17 minutes of play. He also blocked one shot and added one steal.

Florida State plays host to Georgetown College on Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in its second and final exhibition game of the season before opening its regular season against Jacksonville on Nov. 16 at home.

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