Okaro White dominated the first half the way a senior should, going for 14 points on an extremely efficient 6-8 shooting from the floor. And while he only took one shot in the second half (a made three-pointer), he clearly had an impact.
"Obviously White did a great job for them," remarked Jacksonville State coach James Green. "You could sum it up in two words: too much."
But White wasn’t the only Seminole who put on a show. Sophomore Boris Bojanovsky was a perfect 5-5 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line, giving him a ridiculously efficient 15 points. However his impact wasn’t limited to just one end of the court. Bojo, along with fellow 7-footer Michael Ojo, altered Gamecock shots all night long, contributing to Jax State shooting only 38.5% from the field for the game.
"The biggest problem we had was with their size and their ability to get out in the passing lanes," said Coach Green. "There’s no way to prepare for [their size]. We can’t simulate that in practice. "
Coach Hamilton also heaped praise on Boris.
"[Bojo] has a better understanding of what we’re trying to do on the court…he’s reacting instinctively instead of thinking," said Ham. "I think he’s only scratched the surface. He’s about 35 pounds away from being a really good player."
However, despite the massive height advantage the Noles still had some issues on the glass. (This was mentioned by Rogner in the immediate recap as well.) In fact, while FSU held a 30-27 total rebound advantage, the Gamecocks actually snagged 13 offensive rebounds off their 32 missed shots.
"The thing that still concerns me, for the most part, is that I think we should be a much better rebounding team," said Hamilton with his opening comment.
Perhaps some of the rebounding issues can be attributed to playing a 2-3 zone for a fair amount of the game. While Hamilton stated that they have been working on zones since the spring, he also admitted that some of the reason behind him utilizing it more than he would traditionally prefer is due to the new rules.
"The way the game is being officiated now, you’re going to have to mix some zones in," commented Ham. Coach later stated that he actually wanted to play it even more, but the Gamecocks were being so patient on offense that he switched back to man-to-man in an effort to speed the pace up.
FSU, now 6-3 on the season, will have nine days off to allow the players to take care of final exams. They next take the court on December 17th, at home against the Charlotte 49ers—winners of the Puerto Rico Shootout
Other Quotes and Notes:
"They’re gonna be a good basketball team." – Coach James Green
"We wanted to keep the possessions as low as we possibly could." – Coach Green
"Trying to play as aggressive as possible on the offensive end." – Coach Ham
"I think you’re seeing [the international players] developing right before our very eyes." –Coach Ham
When I asked about Kiel’s status, Ham said that Turpin is looking better, but not in a condition to where he could be effective. He’s not in good enough condition, he’s a bit heavier than he’s used to from not being able to practice, and still getting his agility back. Ham just does not want to put him in a position to where he can’t be effective and said they are being patient.
Ham also said he played Okaro at the 3 for much of the game, in part to see what Jarquez Smith could do with extended minutes and also keep the perimeter guys fresher. He then added that he liked what he saw out of Smith, he liked what he saw from Okaro at the 3, and he still wants to get Bookert’s minutes down into the 24-26 range (he played 29 tonight).
Ham mentioned that while he was pleased with our three-point shooting, he felt we took too many, especially in the first half. He wants us to be more aggressive at getting to the rim or getting the big guys touches underneath.
Okaro White talked about how nice it was to get home, sleep in his own bed, and play in front of the home crowd. He said he loves the FSU fans and wishes we could get more out to the games, but he understands that they have to show them some wins first. Frankly, it’s sad that a great person like White has to bargain with fans to show up, but hey, we are FSU we are entitled to Final Fours right? Maybe folks can find a way to give a better welcome to Okaro and the guys for the Charlotte game…