Florida State opened the 2018-2019 season in convincing fashion with a 80-61 win over the Florida Gators. The Seminoles had this game completely in hand just minutes into the second half.
Above The Rim:
FSU thoroughly dominated an incredibly talented Florida team for their fifth consecutive win against the Gators. The Noles took the lead after the first media timeout and did not relinquish it over the remaining 35 minutes and 8 seconds. An 11 point game at the half became a 19 point game just 96 seconds into the 2nd and it was pretty much over from there. The largest lead was 35 with 5:31 left.
Coach Hamilton’s Junkyard Dog defense was absolutely ferocious, holding UF to 37% shooting for the game and just 24% in the first half. Gator’s Head Coach Mike White admitted postgame to being “shell-shocked” by the lopsided outcome but gave the Noles due credit: “It starts with the Seminole defense. I mean, these guys are tough and long and quick. Unbelievably long and disciplined.”
The Gator’s game plan to limit possessions and slow the game down was the right approach but FSU executed well in the half court and were very efficient offensively. The Seminoles played at a slower than expected pace of 17 seconds per possession with only 6 fast break points but scored an average of 1.125 points per each of their 72 possessions. They also shot lights out from three point range, hitting 11-23 (48.7%).
PJ Savoy got the start and led both sides in scoring with 20 points. He could hardly miss from 3, going 5-7 (71.4%) behind the arc, and added 5 of 8 from the free throw line. He obviously will not maintain a ridiculous percentage like that but it bodes well for the season that his shot selection seemed improved and opposing teams will certainly be wary of #5 going off from deep.
M.J. Walker looks to have really dedicated himself to becoming a better defender in the offseason and finished the game with 2 steals. He was in position, communicating, and played with the kind of effort that Ham wants. He looked sharp on the offensive end as well.
Terance Mann stuffed the stat sheet, finishing just shy of a double-double with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 steal. He hit the only 3 he attempted but does not look any more confident from behind the arc. That 3 pointer was actually supposed to be a pass.
Trent Forrest finished second on the team in scoring with 13 points, including 6-6 from the charity stripe. He controlled the ball well with 5 assists to 2 turnovers and showed off his elite defensive ability against UF’s talented guards.
All 11 scholarship players that saw the floor tonight put points on the board.
UF coach Mike White:
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton:
MJ Walker & Terance Mann:
Florida State hits the road to take on Tulane at 7pm on Sunday.