Florida State basketball is coming off their most deflating home loss in years. Long-time fans recognized the FSU offense to be eerily similar to 2012 when the Seminoles would toss the ball around on the perimeter for 25 seconds trying to force post entries to a player who didn’t give the ‘Noles an advantage. Couple that with UCF’s offensive ability to spread the floor and isolate the bigs and it’s no surprise that the Knights outscored Florida State 34-16 when Balsa Koprivica was on the floor (and by another three when Tanor Ngom was in). In the other 20 minutes FSU’s small ball lineups outscored the Knights by nine.
But the coaches and players just have to put it behind them and move on. The focus now is on Gardner Webb (1-3).
The Runnin’ Bulldogs, coached by Tallahassee native Tim Craft, do one thing well: they make 3s. They’re shooting 40% on the season from behind the arc and 43% of their shot attempts come from there.
They have one player who can really hurt the ‘Noles. Senior Jaheam Cornwall (6-0, 175) is one of the top shooters in college basketball, coming off a season where he made 83 from behind the arc at a 45% clip. This year he’s made 40% and leads the team at 14.5 ppg and 3.3 apg. But don’t think of him as a spot up shooter. He’s a relentless driver who just happens to be a great shooter. No one on FSU can stick with him one on one.
Cornwall will look to drive and set up Lance Terry (6-2, 180) who has made a healthy 56% from deep. He was injured for much of last year but is now scoring 11.0 ppg in his sophomore season.
The other double digit scorer is junior Jacob Falko (6-2, 180), scoring 10.3 per game. He prefers to play bully ball against smaller guards which doesn’t typically work well against FSU. But he was a 43% 3-point shooter at his previous stop in Division II.
Beyond those guys, there’s not much to scare you. They don’t hit the offensive glass, they don’t get to the line often, and their post players get their shots blocked at an alarming rate.
Defensively, they’re one of the worst in the country at generating turnovers, and FSU should be able to clean up on 2nd chance points.
The game tips at 7 PM and will be broadcast on Fox Sports South. Florida State opened as a 20-point favorite.