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Takeaways from FSU’s 116-68 exhibition victory over Central Missouri

What can be learned from the Seminoles’ opening exhibition against a vastly inferior opponent?

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

Before beginning a recap of Florida State’s 116-68 victory over Central Missouri in the Seminoles’ first preseason exhibition on Thursday, a disclaimer must be shared.

That disclaimer is that, although FSU looked special in a dominant victory over the Mules, it was a game against a Division II team. Many stats, rebounding and shooting percentage notably, should be taken with a grain of salt.

As such, this recap will focus more on things that will translate from this game into the regular season.

First off, this team is far different from last year’s squad. FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton shared after the game that two of the 2016-17 team’s major weaknesses, three point and free throw shooting, could be some of this team’s greatest strengths.

The Seminoles shot 29 threes on Thursday, hitting 13 of them. That’s up from an average of 19.5 attempted three-pointers per game last season. The three pointer will be a much more substantial aspect of this year’s offense.

That’s in large part thanks to how many different players are perimeter threats. Seven different Seminoles knocked down threes in the exhibition victory. Some were the usual suspects (PJ Savoy, CJ Walker), but others were welcome surprises (Terance Mann, who was 2-2, and Mfiondu Kabengele).

Free throws were also an improvement in Thursday’s exhibition. Given, there are no stakes in an exhibition matchup against a supremely inferior opponent, perhaps removing some of the pressure, but FSU combined to hit 23-32 free throws (71.9%) in the win. That’s a minor improvement over last year’s season average of 68.9%.

FSU was without two major contributors in Trent Forrest and Braian Angola on Thursday. Forrest is dealing with a minor bone bruise and Angola was suspended for a violation of team rules, as was freshman Wyatt Wilkes, but each is expected to be back in the near future.

The absence of Forrest and Angola allowed some younger guys to play more minutes and show off their abilities. They were up to the task.

MJ Walker, the star of FSU’s 2017 recruiting class, showed what made him a highly-touted recruit, potentially reminding some FSU fans of Dwayne Bacon with his driving ability, athleticism, and his knack for finishing at the rim.

Ike Obiagu, the other four-star recruit in FSU’s latest recruiting class, filled the role he will be expected to this season nicely. On a team with many scoring options, the 7’0 center served as a rim protector, finishing with three blocks in his Tucker Center debut in addition to four points on 2-3 shooting and three rebounds.

For as different as this year’s team will be from that of a season ago, there will also be some similarities. The most notable of that will be the Seminoles’ depth. Without Forrest or Angola-Rodas, FSU still used 11 players before bringing in the walk-ons in the final minutes. Each of those 11 who played significant minutes had at least four points.

That will be huge for a team that looks to run as much as FSU does. The Seminoles finished Thursday’s win with a staggering 76 possessions and 1.53 points per possession. That level of production is surely not sustainable against regular season opponents, but that pace will be and could wear out many opposing teams as it did a season ago.

The Seminoles’ second preseason exhibition will be against Thomas University on Tuesday, November 7th and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra on ESPN3. The regular season opener will be the next week, November 14th, against George Washington.

Leonard Hamilton talks after Florida State Seminoles Basketball’s 116-68 exhibition victory over Central Missouri.

Posted by on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Florida State Seminoles Basketball guard PJ Savoy on how he has improved this offseason and the strength of this year’s squad.

Posted by on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Florida State Seminoles Basketball junior Terance Mann has grown into his role as a leader.

Posted by on Thursday, October 26, 2017