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Baseline Breakdown: No. 11 FSU salts away Southeast Missouri

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The Seminoles wormed out of the Redhawks’ grip in the 2nd half.

NCAA Basketball: SE Missouri State at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State overcame a slow start and eventually pulled away in the 2nd half. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. It is hard to argue with a 9-1 record, but the trend of struggling with their most outmatched opponents is troubling. Sure, they’ve eventually pulled away and made these games look like blowouts, but in ACC play getting down early will be much harder to overcome.

Above The Rim:

Although it seemed like there was a lid on the basket in the first half, I can confirm from my seat on the baseline that there was none. The Seminoles were 1-12 from deep in the 1st half (8.3%). Devin Vassell hit the only three of the half with 1:50 left on the clock and went 2 of 3 on the night. The only other players connecting from deep were David Nichols (3-4), Trent Forrest (1-4), and Wyatt Wilkes (1-4), who added a three just before the final buzzer. It didn’t help that PJ Savoy went 0 for 5 and M.J. Walker was out with a minor ankle injury.

On the other end, Southeast Missouri State went 14-37 (37.8%) from deep. The Redhawks entered the game 233rd in the country in 3pt% at 32.5% (KenPom). They put up a lot of threes, and FSU gave them too many open looks, especially in the 1st half. SEMO’s quick guards were able to penetrate and draw FSU’s help, allowing open shots on the perimeter. The three-point disparity, particularly in the first half, largely accounted for the Redhawks leading for the majority of the contest.

The Seminoles turned the ball over 15 times and had 15 assists. Turnovers have been a problem this season, but having Phil Cofer back and tightening the rotation in conference play should help some. Ball security needs to be a focus for FSU. Otherwise, being 319th in the country with a turnover percentage of 22.4% (KenPom) will undoubtedly hurt the ’Noles in ACC play.

Court Level:

Although he had little impact on the night, Seminole fans gave Cofer a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the first time this season. Coach Ham said Cofer sat out the 2nd half for precautionary measures, and he plans to increase the 5th-year senior’s minutes incrementally over the next few weeks. He referenced bringing Christ Koumadje back too early last season from a leg injury, causing him to develop tendinitis that plagued him the rest of the year, so he’s wary of having the same thing happen with Cofer. Having Cofer back in full force will give the ’Noles a significant boost heading into the meat-grinder of ACC play.

Forrest was terrific on both ends of the floor and set a new career-high with 23 points. Good things happen when he drives to the basket. With his strength and ability to finish he seemingly either makes the basket, gets fouled, or both. Combine that with being a great free throw shooter, and he’s lethal when attacking.

Vassell continued to impress while setting a career-high of 16 points (in 19 minutes). The true freshman has a high basketball IQ and just seems to have a knack for being in the right place and putting the ball in the basket. His ceiling is very high, and he’s still nowhere close to playing at his full potential. Watching him develop this year and in the seasons to come will be a real treat for Seminole fans.

Postgame:

SEMO Head Coach Rick Ray, #3 Skyler Hogan, and # 25 Ledarrius Brewer:

Coach Leonard Hamilton:

David Nichols:

Trent Forrest:

Up Next:

The Seminoles will host UNF on Wednesday at 7pm.