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Observations from FSU basketball's win at NC State

On the road-- and into the ACC win column.

Malik Beasley and Devon Bookert
Malik Beasley and Devon Bookert
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It finally happened. Not Florida State basketball's first conference win of the season-- although that was pretty damn big. No, for the first time since the Seminoles' last win, which came in Gainesville against the rival Florida Gators, the 'Noles actually got off to a decent start, one that they were able to defend throughout Wednesday night's 85-78 victory over NC State in Raleigh, NC.

FSU's game plan was spot on coming into this one. Getting out quickly helped the 'Noles dictate pace, as the Wolfpack is not a deep team, and Florida State, which is, sought to exploit that by instilling a frenetic tempo from the onset. The Seminoles rolled out some half-court trapping and harried the 'Pack, which, like the 'Noles, came in desperate at 0-3 in ACC play. NC State obliged, jacking up quick shots all too often and opening 3-13 from three-point range, even though they often found success when taking the ball to the 'Noles, who continue to struggle on the defensive interior.

To that end, Boris Bojanovsky fouled out with just four points and five boards in 14 minutes. Jarquez Smith totaled only four points and one rebound in the same amount of time, but there was a silver lining among the FSU bigs in this one: 7-4 freshman center Chris Koumadje. While he only registered a pair of points and a single board in 11 minutes, he also notched three blocked shots and continues to be the most prominent shot-changer for the garnet and gold.

Florida State doesn't need its big guys to be great this year, though-- it needs them to be serviceable and smart while the talented perimeter players shine, and that formula worked well on Wednesday. FSU picked the Wolfpack apart from deep, hitting on 9-17 three-pointers (led by Devon Bookert, who was 4-4 on threes), while NC State hit on just 7-26. While teams in the past have made a rather high percentage from beyond the arc against the 'Noles, forcing them to chuck it from deep is still in the Seminoles' best interest, as the longer boards somewhat negate the physical disadvantage at which FSU finds itself inside. It also facilities the 'Noles getting out to run (FSU had 17 fast-break points in this one).

Now that Florida State has learned how to begin a game (we'll see if that continues at home on Sunday against UVA), it needs to develop a killer instinct. FSU's largest lead came when the 'Noles went up 14 with just under six minutes to play. That lead was a precarious three with 30 seconds left. Yes, the Seminoles pulled away to win comfortably, but their makeup is not one given to holding the ball to melt clock late. This is a squad suited to kep its foot on the gas-- which is exactly how the 'Noles ultimately pulled away to secure the big win.