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Florida State beats North Florida 93-77

Career games by several players fuel the Seminoles

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Five days ago Florida State found out they would have to play the rest of the season without their best player Aaron Thomas. Then a stunned team went out and got rolled by Notre Dame. It was important to see if this team would fold under the heavy news, or rebound with a great effort a few days later against a solid North Florida team.

Luckily for FSU fans, the team showed spark and toughness, playing perhaps their best game of the season.

The effort was led by Montay Brandon and Kiel Turpin, who both posted career bests for points scored. FSU tried to get into transition as often as possible, and it was usually Brandon playing a key role on every fast break. In half court sets, the Noles used Kiel Turpin in the middle of UNF's zone, and he was able to score frequently with quick jump hooks.

Defensively, the Noles handled North Florida's high screen game with much more precision than they showed versus Notre Dame. As a result, most of the Osprey 3-point attempts - and this is a team that looks to shoot half their shots from the arc - were contested by strong close outs. In the first half the Noles could never pull away due to too many turnovers, but due to solid 3-point defense they were able to utilize a small late run to take a 14 point lead at the break.

The 2nd half, at least for the first 12 or 13 minutes, was a clinic. FSU only turned the ball over twice the entire half, and using good ball movement they were able to get clean looks on just about every possession. For the night FSU generated 25 assists on 34 made baskets (74%) which was their highest assist rate in two years.

The final minutes of the game were sloppy, but the Noles still managed a convincing 93-77 win.

Montay Brandon led all scorers with 24 points, adding eight assists and two steals. Kiel Turpin scored a career best 19 and made 8-9 shots. Phil Cofer had 14 points and eight rebounds, and fellow freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished with 11 points and nine assists. Devon Bookert filled it up with seven rebounds, five points, four assists, and three steals.

The one negative from the game happened midway though the 2nd half when Jarquez Smith landed on one of the Ospreys player's feet, rolling his left ankle, and it didn't look good. He was looked at briefly on the sidelines and then taken to the locker room.

FSU (5-5) now travels to Sunrise, FL for a Saturday matchup with South Florida.