The Florida State Seminoles ended their four-game home stand against Chicago State, the worst team in the nation according to Kenpom, on Monday night. Leonard Hamilton went with a starting five of Trent Forrest, Anthony Polite, Devin Vassell, Malik Osborne, and Dominik Olejniczak for the second straight game. The Seminoles were looking to execute and stay healthy before their big matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday. Even with the worst team in the nation in the Tuck, the ’Noles came out focused and playing quickly, on their way to a 113-56 victory.
FSU got off to a fast start, going up 12-3 behind six quick points from Olejniczak. CSU burned their first timeout less than three minutes in after an emphatic slam from Vassell. By the first media timeout, the Seminoles had built a 14-point lead, going 7-8 from the field, while the visitors were 1-4 with four turnovers.
Raiquan Gray saw his first action in two games after the first media timeout. FSU really didn’t need Gray tonight, but it was nice to get him back into rhythm before facing the Vols. M.J. Walker went through warmups but did not see any action in the game as he works his way back from injury (better to be safe than sorry, as it’s a marathon, not a sprint).
For the second straight game the ’Noles were moving the ball well on offense, as eight different players scored by the second media timeout. Back-to-back threes from Wyatt Wilkes and Trent Forrest extended the lead to 22 less than 11 minutes in. Another Vassell dunk led to the Cougars’ second timeout after just 12 minutes. The highlight of the night came on a Vassell windmill dunk, as he continued to torture the rim throughout the first half.
Nathanael Jack started to find his rhythm from behind the arc as he drained three of his first five threes. Forrest also found his stroke from deep, draining both of his three point attempts in the first half (the key is that he continues shooting in rhythm). Overall, FSU was 8-14 from three in the first half.
Florida State went into the break with a massive 36-point lead as they shot 73.3% from the field. The ’Noles were also 13-14 from the free throw line. Jack led the way with 11, while Vassell and Forrest each added 10. FSU put up 20 fast break points and 27 points off 12 CSU turnovers.
FSU came out of the locker room just as focused as they were in the first half. Within two minutes, the Seminoles pushed the lead to 42 behind four points and an assist for Vassell. Jack’s fourth three of the night pushed the Florida State lead to 49 at the under-8 media timeout.
With the big lead, FSU was able to get extra rest for its starters and necessary reps for their “young” guys. No FSU starter played more than 16 minutes. Walk-on Harrison Prieto was the first walk-on to enter with 5:37 left in the game. At the under-4 media timeout, FSU had surpassed the 100-point mark as they were up 105-51.
On the night, FSU shot 65.5% from the field while going 10/23 from behind the arc. FSU’s defense also forced 22 CSU turnovers. The Seminoles had five scorers in double digits as Vassell and Patrick Williams led the way with 16 points each.
Obviously it wasn’t top-notch competition, but FSU did what it had to do against lesser teams in this four-game home stand, winning all four games and not trailing for the final 114 minutes (almost three complete games). The ’Noles continue to find a little bit more of their identity as each game passes.