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Defensive Intensity Drives Noles to 80-39 Win

Luke Loucks led the Noles with 18 points.
Luke Loucks led the Noles with 18 points.

After a lackluster performance versus Stetson on Wednesday, the Seminole defense came out as focused as they've been all season. For the game they forced four shot-clock violations, held South Alabama to 36% shooting on 2s, 0% shooting on 24 3-point attempts (yes, 0-24, which breaks the previous record of 0-22 held by St Bonaventure from a 1995 game versus Canisius ties the previous record held by Auburn (over Dayton) in 2008 and SC State (over FAMU) in 2004), and blocked 21% of their shot attempts in an 80-39 win.

The smothering defense out of the gate combined with a surprisingly efficient offense led to a 51-23 halftime lead. The 2nd half, however, was a different story. The defense continued to dominate, but the offense fell apart. In 31 2nd half possession the Seminoles turned it over 14 times. For the night they turned the ball over 19 times in a 68 possession game (27.9%). Four games into the season this team has the worst turnover rate of Leonard Hamilton's career, and is on pace to turn the ball over more than any of the other 344 Division I teams. When they weren't turning the ball over they were too often jacking threes early in the shot clock (the same shot that will be there late in the shot clock) and converted 5-21 3-point attempts (23.8%). Why a team that shot 74% on 2s was settling for long jumpshots is beyond me, but is an old pattern that won't change. The Seminoles failed to meet my conservative goal of 1.20 points per possession (1.17). This was the worst defense FSU will face all season. Defensively, the goal was 0.80, and the Noles smashed that (0.57) with the best defensive performance of any ACC team this season. Virginia is the only other team to hold an opponent under 0.60 (0.58 against South Carolina State).

Luke Loucks led the Seminoles with 18 points (1 shy of his career best), but Terrance Shannon had a better game. Shannon had 15 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks, and scored his points off only 6 shots. Bernard James added 6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. And Deividas Dulkys not only chipped in 12 points, but did all the little things well - he had 3 offensive rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks.

Now the Seminoles head to the Bahamas for the Battle-4-Atlantis. FSU opens on Thanksgiving versus a solid University of Massachusetts. If you want to scout UMass, they'll be playing Boston College on Monday before they head south.