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Inside the box score: FSU 98, Southern Miss 49

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NCAA Basketball: Southern Mississippi at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
  1. The 3-point line has been in college basketball for 30 years, yet we still have archaic official box scores which do not call out 2-point field goal percentage. It would be like football lumping extra points and field goals together as Kick%. Regardless, Southern Miss made 14-45 2s (40%), which is right at FSU’s defensive season long average of 41%. That’s the number I watch for Leonard Hamilton coached defenses, as he puts a premium on shutting down the paint. In his system, shut down the paint and lots of other good things will happen. Last year Florida State was 175th nationally in defensive 2-pt%. The year before they were 121st. This year, that 41% is good for 21st. The team is fairly pedestrian at forcing turnovers (120th), not good at keeping teams off the free throw line (201st), and downright bad at securing the boards (287th). But because they force so many misses, the defense is ranked 48th nationally and is on pace to be in the top 50 for the first time since FSU won the ACC.
  2. Senior Jarquez Smith has had an intriguing career. He came to FSU with no inside game and with the intent of becoming a stretch-4. After two seasons of only modest improvement, he was moved into the post last year out of necessity due to Michael Ojo’s injury. There, he had flashes of excellent play, and continued that role this year as part of Florida State’s 3-headed attack at center. But with Jonathan Isaac and Phil Cofer out with injuries, Smith was sent back to the perimeter (he also spent time later in the game manning the middle). His flexibility was key to last night’s win, as Smith knocked down a couple of 3s, had two blocks and two steals, and finished with a season high 14 points.
  3. We’ve been waiting for PJ Savoy. Although he was somewhat of an afterthought to last year’s loaded recruiting class, Savoy was the one player we could point to as coming in to fill a specific and much needed role as FSU’s 3&D guy. A 43% 3-point shooter as a freshman in JUCO, the now sophomore played his first extended minutes vs George Washington knocking down 2-4 3s. Then, against Southern Miss, he went off, knocking down 7-10 3s on his way to 27 points. Only four players in FSU history (George McCloud, Isaiah Swann, James Collins, Deividas Dulkys) have made more than seven 3s in a game.
  4. [36 minus 14 equals 22. 60 minus 29 equals 31.] FSU made 22/31 2s (71%). FSU has now made 57.9% of their 2s this year, which is 8th best in the nation.
  5. FSU won 98-49 in a 73 possession game. After the defense held a team (George Washington) below 0.7 points per possession for the first time since the 2011-12 season, the defense went out and did it again. On offense, FSU broke out of their mini-slump in which they failed to score a point per possession in back-to-back games. The ‘Noles erupted to the tune of 1.34 per possession, which was their best output of the year (albeit against the worst defense they’ve faced) and the most since last year’s season opener vs Nicholls State, which just so happens to be FSU’s opponent tomorrow night.