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Inside the box score: Mfiondu Kabengele goes old school in career game

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11th ranked ’Noles improve to 10-1.

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Local product JT Escobar kept North Florida in the game by knocking down 6-6 3s. His previous career best 3-pt% in a game was when he made 4-6 (67%) last year. Since transferring from Ole Miss, he’s made a habit of shooting well against good teams. Against KenPom top-50 teams, he’s now made 30-66 (45%) since leaving Oxford.
  2. Christ Koumadje made 5-5 shots from the field and has now made 11 straight. All 11 have been dunks. In fact, you have to go back to the LSU game to find a non-dunk made basket. His last 18 field goals have been dunks, and he now has 31 on the season (more than 10 of 14 ACC teams!). The rest of the Seminoles have 30, led by Terance Mann’s 13.
  3. Mfiondu Kabengele scored a career-best 24 points, including 10-10 FTs. The last time an FSU player attempted 10 or more free throws and made them all was Okaro White in 2013 (also 10-10), and Florida State has won every game in the past decade when a Seminole attempted 10 or more FTs. Kabengele has drawn 8.5 fouls/40 for the season, which is the 8th best in the nation. North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll said: “Mfiondu Kabengele is a beast, and he is from the old school, he is not from the new school.”
  4. How do you score 95 points when shooting 3-23 from deep? You only turn it over six times. Coach Hamilton stated in the post game that he’s been harping on the turnovers, and it paid off vs UNF. Florida State turned it over on just 7.9% of their possessions, which was the 2nd stingiest game of Leonard Hamilton’s tenure. The FSU defense forced turnovers on 25% of the Osprey’s possessions and outscored them 27-3 off turnovers.
  5. FSU won 95-81 in a 76 possession game. After the Troy game I wrote an article which questioned the sustainability of Florida State’s defensive success. Since then, the defense has fallen from 13th nationally to 20th. The trend was that FSU was giving up an alarming number of 3-pt attempts, but teams were tossing bricks, making just 31.5% of their attempts. Since then, teams have made 37.3%. With FSU switching most ball screens and being bigger than almost everyone they play, dribble penetration is always going to be an issue. When opponents dribble into the defense, other defenders have to rotate to the ball. This leaves shooters open. To defend that, Coach Hamilton stresses that there can be no straight line passes. In other words, the defenders have to force the ball handler to lob it over the defense, or make a bounce pass. This gives the defense time to rotate back and take away the potential 3-pt attempt. If this team is going to meet its goals, it needs to get much better at taking away straight line passes.