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Inside the box score: MJ Walker breaks out

The sophomore had his best game at Florida State

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  1. We’ve mentioned several times that the likelihood of Trent Forrest playing healthy this season is slim to none, and slim just left town. Prior to the game he was interviewed by ESPN’s Corey Alexander, and told him that he won’t be healthy until the off season. So there you go. Florida State’s season rests on the turfed toe of their star point guard. In the final minute versus Miami he was fouled hard and everyone held their breath, but “luckily” he just had a gash below his eye. He played 32 minutes and finished with six assists and three steals. In the final five minutes of the game he was the only Florida State ball handler capable of handling Miami’s pressure.
  2. Assists don’t measure efficiency, they measure style. And Florida State’s style involves a lot of post clear outs and dribble drives, which generally lead to low assist totals. Miami sold out their interior defense and dared Florida State to shoot 3s, and FSU made them pay. This led to assists on 20 of 28 made baskets. It was the most assists in a regulation game since last year’s loss at Duke. Trent Forrest (6), M.J. Walker (5), and Terance Mann (4) all had at least four assists. It matched Walker’s career high.
  3. M.J. Walker had made five 3s on three previous occasions, but against Miami (of FL) he had a breakout game with 6-7 3s on his way to 22 points (adding a career high in assists, as well as a block). He played 35 minutes and finished with an offensive rating for the game of 180. It’s the first time an FSU player has rated that highly while playing 30+ minutes since Xavier Rathan-Mayes did against against The Citadel in 2014. Walker had been in a slump, shooting 18% from deep in ACC play.
  4. Florida State made 12 3s and shot 60% from behind the arc. Coach Hamilton has repeatedly stated that this is the best shooting team he’s ever had in practice, but they’ve struggled this season. At least until the past two games where they’ve knocked down 22-42 (52%) vs Clemson and Miami. If Florida State can soften defenses without outside shots, they can beat anyone in the country. The 12 3s was the most FSU has made in a game this year.
  5. FSU won 78-66 in a 65 possession game. Coach Hamilton pushed his record vs Miami to 21-12, and has swept the season series in two of the past three years. Florida State’s 1.20 points per possession are the most they’ve scored against a high major team this year. For Miami, two of their five worst offensive games this year have come against the ‘Noles.