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Inside the box score: No. 13 FSU 93, Canisius 61

A close game turns into a 2nd half rout

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Florida State dominated the game of hidden possessions. The Seminoles turned over Canisius 19 times (compared to 15 for FSU) and limited them to just eight offensive rebounds (compared to 14 for FSU). That’s a difference of 10 extra possessions where the ’Noles had the opportunity to be effective. For the season, FSU is forcing opponent turnovers on 24.4% of possessions, while committing one of their own on 20.7%. On the glass, FSU is limiting opponents to grabbing just 24.8% of their own misses, while the Seminoles grab a hefty 36.6%.
  2. There is a new award this year, as the FSU basketball team is handing out spears after each game, which go to the best defensive effort. However, the fact that they haven’t just handed the spear to Trent Forrest after each game (PJ Savoy and Harrison Prieto won the first two) shows it’s graded on a sliding scale. Canisius head coach Reggie Weatherspoon said, “[Forrest] sets the bar for their defense, pressure, and intensity. Every single solitary possession, he’s down in his stance. Our guy is pretty quick and people don’t typically try to do that for a whole game, and he did not look uncomfortable at all. And the other guys, what are they going to do? They have to play that hard.”
  3. Wyatt Wilkes came in late and promptly forced Coach Hamilton to call a timeout so he could rip the team for not moving the ball with about three minutes left. After that, FSU dominated the closing minutes and Wilkes drained two 3s. But more importantly the freshmen trio of Anthony Polite, Raiquan Gray, and Devin Vassell combined for 39 minutes, which is a season-high. They played 28 minutes against Florida and 17 at Tulane. Polite scored nine points and went 4-4 from the line. Vassell was very disruptive on defense, picking up three steals, while scoring 10. And Gray showed flashes of why the staff was so high on his skill-set - leading breaks, defending smaller guys, showing good vision (he also went 4-4 from the stripe). Practice time is critical, but it’s live action against unpredictable opponents where you pick up valuable film to aid in development.
  4. Mfiondu Kabengele had his best game of the season and was a force in the paint. The sophomore scored a career-high 18 points and went to the line 10 times. For the year, he’s drawn 11.1 fouls/40 which is the 4th best in the nation, and he’s the only underclassman in the top-9.
  5. FSU won 93-61 in a 72 possession game. The offense (which scored 1.29 points per possession) was only more efficient three times last year. The Seminoles currently have the 9th most efficient offense in the nation, and that’s without their leading scorer from last year: Phil Cofer. When Cofer was asked before the game when he’d be back, he said, “Soon. Very soon.” Defensively, the Seminoles are 13th best nationally. The Canisius head coach attributed the team’s success to their effort, saying, “I said that before the game, if you had a coaching clinic, and you had someone from a different planet like Mars, and they asked what is it that coaches talk about with wanting their teams to play hard. What do they mean by intensity and great effort? You would want to put a DVD on and say just watch Florida State. That’ll wear your guys down.”