Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon were the only two guards available in the first half tonight, as the disciplinary actions against Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas continued. The two guards combined for 39 minutes in the half, and looked completely gassed from the 3rd TV timeout until the half. But the two exerted max effort for the entire half, and - despite 6 turnovers from Okaro White - built a nice 43-36 lead, and this was with the Dolphins pressing for the entire half to try and take advantage of the depth issues.
The 2nd half was a different story. Miller and Thomas finally played (they were suspended for both of the exhibition games) and FSU clicked on both ends of the floor. It was never close in the second half, and the final was 91-67 against a team expected to compete in the Atlantic Sun.
Devon Bookert finished with 16 points, 9 boards (career high), 5 steals (career high), 2 assists and just 1 turnover. His partner in first half exhaustion had 15 points and 3 assists. Okaro White recovered from his awful 1st half to finish with 18 points and 11 boards. Robert Gilchrist knocked down 2 of 3 3-pointers on his way to 10 points, and Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas combined for 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 boards in a half of play. All told, the Noles offense was solid. They scored 1.16 points per possession, which is a figure they only exceeded 4 times last year.
But most importantly, they played defense. And this without their starting center, as Kiel Turpin is still suffering knee issues. FSU limited Jacksonville to just 0.83 points per possession, which is better than all but two of last season's games.
This was an encouraging win (FSU was favored by 13), and now things get tougher as FSU travels to UCF next Wednesday.