The 'Noles improved to a perfect 2-0 on the young season as they rolled past Jacksonville 98-79 on Tuesday night. It wasn't all smooth sailing, as they trailed Jacksonville by as many as 11 early. Xavier Rathan-Mayes said of the deficit,
I think we have older guys, veterans on this team, and when we went down, we've been there before. We've been in that situation, we know what to do, we know how to handle it, we got to come out and execute, make shots, and I think that's what allowed us to get back in the game.
Although Jacksonville isn't the most heralded of names, we were still able to learn some things about the Seminoles.
This offense is for real and will continue to score a large amount of points each game. This is a whole new style of Florida State basketball that hasn't been seen in a while, one in which the 'Noles are taking the first good shot possible and are running the court with purpose.
In the first half, only three of FSU's 34 shots attempted came with ten or less seconds remaining on the shot clock. In the second half, the tempo remained the same, but as long as the 'Noles are able to shoot 57% from the field like they did, scoring will not be an issue. However, the quicker the offense rolls, the more turnovers will be caused, an issue for the Seminoles all of last season. This was evident early last night, given Florida State's eight turnovers in the first half. Fortunately, it was able to clean that up in the second half, only committing one turnover in the first twelve minutes.
This team will have a very deep rotation, as Leonard Hamilton played 11 different players, all of whom played for at least six minutes. Additionally, none of them had a negative +/-, led by Dwyane Bacon who was a +18. Phil Cofer only played nine minutes, about which Hamilton explained, "Every game is going to be different. There might be games where he plays 30 minutes, there might be games where he plays 10 minutes. It's not that he's not in because he's doing bad." The rotation is also very balanced outside of the main contributors of XRM, Dwyane Bacon, and Malik Beasley. 10 different players had at least two rebounds while eight players had between 2-13 points.
As evident from tonight and the opener, Bacon and Beasley look to be the clear leading scorers on the team. Prior to today, there was only one freshmen in Florida State history to score 20+ points in two consecutive games during his freshman year.
Bacon and Beasly both accomplished that as they scored 27 and 21 points, respectively. The amazing part is how efficiently they are scoring, as Bacon is shooting 19/33 (57%) and 4/9 (44%) from three-point range, in addition to his 18 total rebounds. Beasley is shooting 14/20 (70%) and 7/10 (70%) on three pointers. The combination of the two efficient scorers, with an already solid lineup consisting of Devon Bookert, XRM, Montay Brandon, and Boris Bojanovsky, with freshman guard Terance Mann and 7-4 center Chris Koumadje, could make for a very exciting season of Florida State basketball.