1. Coach Hamilton singled out Jarquez Smith and Phil Cofer as the stars of the game. Cofer’s energy and toughness always stand out when he plays well, but Smith has a more under-the-radar style. What caught my attention was that Smith - who often looked lost last year as he transitioned from a stretch player to a post player - looked like a reliable senior last night, and that can best be summed up by the fact that Jordan Washington was only able to grab one offensive rebound. Washington was the 2nd best offensive rebounder in the nation last year, corralling nearly 19% of his team’s misses.
In the opening minutes of the game, Washington proved to be too quick for Michael Ojo. So Coach Hamilton was already turning to Smith with more than 18 minutes on the clock. On every Iona shot, Smith located Washington and put a body on him. Several rebounds actually went into Washington’s area, but he was unable to get up because Jarquez was leaning on him, and this allowed an FSU guard to sky in and clean the board. Couple this with quick and timely rotations on help defense (Trent Forrest deserves a shout out here as well), and the ability to bury jump hooks over both shoulders, and its easy to see why Ham called his name in the press conference.
2. Jonathan Isaac had his first career 20 point game, and it came quietly as he’s yet to look like he’s forcing the offense. He’s now 4-7 on 3s, and did you see the Euro step from the 3-pt. line for the layup?
3. No Florida State player played more than 26 minutes. Four Iona players played 26-36 minutes. When Coach Hamilton talks about the need to play with an unselfish spirit, this is what he means. It’s hard to put up numbers consistently if you are not playing a ton of minutes, but if the team buys-in then this is a recipe for wearing opponents down and extending leads in the final ten minutes of a game. Which is exactly what has happened in the opening two games.
4. In Attendance Watch 2016, the ‘Noles drew a small crowd of 4,530 fans. After a solid opening game, FSU has now slipped 5.3% behind last year’s pace, which was 69th nationally.
5. Florida State won 99-78 in a 83 possession game. It was the 5th time in 12 years that FSU has played a game with that many possessions. The season is young, but the ‘Noles are currently the most uptempo team in the ACC, and on Friday they host Winthrop, which is another team that likes to push the ball.