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FSU’s bench dominates in blowout win over Chattanooga

Florida State’s bench steps up with two starters out.

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

After a last minute win against Western Carolina last Friday, the Florida State Seminoles were looking for a dominant performance against Chattanooga. However, FSU got some bad news before the opening tip when it was announced M.J. Walker and Raiquan Gray would miss the contest. But the Seminoles looked like a completely different team on offense early on Wednesday and ended with a comfortable 89-53 win over the visiting Mocs.

Against WCU, the Seminoles were 10-26 from the field in the 1st half. Nine minutes into tonight’s game, the ’Noles were 10-17 from the field, including 4-8 from deep. Malik Osborne put up a quick seven points before the bench came in and put the Mocs down double-digits.

After a rough start to the season, the bench showed its potential and depth. Freshmen Patrick Williams and Balsa Koprivica did work in the 1st half. Williams and Koprivica continue to get better with each game and show their potential. Williams had seven and Balsa put up six in the first half.

Florida State went into half with a much different feel from last Friday, leading Chattanooga by 12, while shooting 53.3% from the field. The ’Noles also turned the ball over just two times. FSU’s bench outscored the Mocs’ bench 18-2. Devin Vassell led the way with eight efficient points.

Vassell continued his nice play after intermission, scoring FSU’s first five points. By the second media timeout, the Seminoles had pushed the lead to 25 with 10-17 shooting. Leonard Hamilton felt comfortable enough to insert walk-on Justin Lindner with 12 minutes left in the game, and he responded by taking a charge on defense.

The Seminoles moved the ball effectively throughout, finding open shots on offense. By the third media timeout, the ’Noles were outsourcing the Mocs 41-2 in bench points, as Williams, Koprivica, and Dominik Olejniczak were all in double-digits. The bench ended the night scoring 51 of FSU’s 89 points.

Obviously it’s against a lower-level Chattanooga squad, but to come out and dominate the way they did without two starters is impressive. Florida State responded to the lackluster performance in the home opener with a 36-point win while dominating all facets of the game. Vassell led FSU with a career-high 17 points and eight boards as the ’Noles finished with five guys in double digits.