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Short-handed Seminoles crush Southern Miss

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

When Florida State opened as four touchdown favorites over Southern Miss, we didn’t expect much of a game. And we didn’t get one. FSU - despite missing Jonathan Isaac and Phil Cofer - dominated from the opening tip and cruised to a 98-49 win.

With the two injured forwards, the ‘Noles turned to a starting lineup of Michael Ojo, Jarquez Smith, Terance Mann, Dwayne Bacon, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. It was the first time this season that those five have been on the court together.

From there it hardly mattered who was on the court. Walk-on Brandon Allen played 10 minutes. PJ Savoy, fresh off a toe injury, played a career high 14 minutes. Jarquez Smith went over 16 minutes for just the 2nd time this season. FSU went huge with the starting lineup. They went small with Terance Mann as the biggest player on the floor.

The offense wasn’t crisp at times as the players searched for highlight reel plays, and the defense suffered through new guys playing together, but this is just nitpicking. Southern Miss doesn’t have the talent to play with Florida State, and it was obvious. The defense had 14 steals, eight blocks, and held USM to 49 points in 73 possessions.

The team should have been dominant. They were. Move on.

PJ Savoy came off the bench and scored 27 in just 14 minutes, knocking down 7-10 3s. Jarquez Smith, in addition to his 100th career block, had 14 points. Dwayne Bacon scored 13 and Brandon Allen had a career high 10. Trent Forrest led FSU with nine rebounds, and XRM had seven assists.

FSU now faces a quick turnaround when they play Nicholls on Thursday night.