Once again at home in the Civic Center, Florida State took on Gardner-Webb and came out on top 72-59 in a hard-fought game. FSU led by just 4 with as little 4 minutes to play, but ultimately found a way to win behind stout defense.
Now ranked #21 in the polls, the Seminoles move to 5-1 overall on the season. Junior guard Anthony Polite finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and a block, while sophomore big-man Balsa Koprivica added 14 points on 4 of 5 from the field. FSU held Gardner-Webb to 31-percent shooting from the field.
After the game, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton, Polite, and Koprivica spoke to the media for post-game comments.
On what needs to improve: “We have been getting pretty good offense from our rotation, but I haven’t been overly impressed with the energy the defensive effort, the steals, the blocks. Our transition game has not been what we would like it to be.”
“That was a good way to end the first part of the season.”
On Evans’ performance: “Evans, I thought he was affected of what he saw the other night with Florida. It kind of bothered him a little more than we realized… I was happy to see him come out and make major contributions.”
“It takes a while to adjust when these roles are being changed, it’s a transition period that we are going through. I feel very fortunate to be where we are.”
On losing Trent Forrest: “Its not easy to fill those big shoes. The guy was here for four years, the four years prior to that he was at every event he could get to.”
“I think we are in a pretty good place with the leadership, I don’t see anything negative, it is all positive.”
On playing a lot of close games: “I think Indiana is a good basketball team, Florida is a good basketball team. It’s not so much about what we are doing.”
“Its part of the developing process. It is not always physical. It is about developing the confidence with each other, the system.”
On M.J. Walker’s status: “MJ got a thigh bruise or somewhere in his thigh. I don’t think it is an issue it didn’t appear to be in the locker room”
On FSU’s defense tonight: “On Saturday night we didn’t perform as well as we should have. Defensively we weren’t emphasizing our principles and techniques. We tried to contest the shooters, we knew going against this team that they can shoot well.”
On his offseason: “During quarantine, we weren’t practicing with the team up until June or July, I have just been watching a lot of film and trying to improve my body. The main thing I have improved on is calling out defensive plays.”
“I think we learned from our loss. Every time we lose, we always bounce back. We are still trying to learn how to play with each other. We didn’t have the full summer to get to playing with each other as much, That is not an excuse, most people didn.t have the time either.”
“We always as a team have things we do to create energy. Generating energy that is right for the game. We did that very well. Guys were cheering for each other.”
Koprivica said they are going to “watch a lot of film” during the time off.
On defense tonight: “We definitely answered the challenge. The team that showed up against UCF was not us. We just got back to what we do.”
On lack of fans: “We worked on that a lot. We just gotta create our own energy. Talking and pointing is what creates our own energy, especially on the road.”
On Clemson: “On the road it is definitely important that we bring our defense. Make sure to dominate in the little things. We gotta be sure to bring our defense wherever we play.”
On the time off: “Watch a lot of film, and recover as much as possible. We are going to have a quick turnaround and ACC play is going to be very intense.”
On corner three’s: “I have been shooting a lot and practicing a lot in the corner. When I get it in the corner that has to go down. The way we play, corners are open. The way the defense plays us. I just gotta be ready to knock them down.”
On rebounding: “Just reading the game, making sure you are blocking out.”