Florida State has only played two games, but already an identity is beginning to emerge. Against an Iona team that likes to run opponents out of the gym, the ‘Noles beat them at their own game, using depth and tempo to wear the Gaels down. The game was never in doubt in the second half, as the Seminoles won 99-78 to go 2-0 on the year.
In the early going it looked like FSU might get off to another sluggish start, but after falling behind 9-8 at the first media timeout, the ‘Noles really turned it on.
To illustrate what that means for this team: the first half offense featured nine missed free throws, 10 turnovers, and just 1-8 shooting from behind the arc. The Seminoles scored 47 points.
How? By shooting 16-20 on 2s.
Florida State’s high tempo offense was constantly in attack mode, and they took advantage of their size by grabbing seven offensive boards, including three from Phil Cofer, and converting those into easy buckets.
Jordan Washington – Iona’s star – kept the Gaels in it early by scoring 10 points. But the issue with the All-MAAC performer has always been his aggressiveness. FSU continually attacked right into his chest, and Washington picked up three fouls in the first half, where the ‘Noles took a 47-32 lead.
With FSU up 11 early in the 2nd and the Gaels trying to rally, a Jon Isaac drive with 17:53 left to picked up Jordan Washington’s 4th foul. And from there, the lead quickly ballooned to 20 points.
The Seminoles rolled in shift change after shift change, and there wasn’t much the Gaels could do.
In the end, it was FSU 99, Iona 78.
There was no real offensive star for FSU, as six players scored in double figures. Jonathan Isaac led Florida State with 20 and was one of four players with at least six rebounds. Phil Cofer had 13 points and six rebounds, and his activity caused Iona problems all night. Terance Mann had 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out. Jarquez Smith played an excellent all around game, finishing with 12 points and a team leading seven rebounds. Dwayne Bacon and Trent Forrest both finished with 10 points, and both were disruptive on the defensive end.
The defensive effort was again excellent, though the execution is lagging behind. This is to be expected with so many newcomers. Nine players played at least 15 minutes, and four of those were first year players. At this point, the defense looks promising. Execution is coachable. Effort happens in the off season.
The Seminoles next take the court on Friday night, against Winthrop, who won 23 games last year and is off to a 2-0 start.