Florida State's men's basketball team improved to 4-1 on Wednesday night, defeating the University of North Florida 75-67.
The Seminoles had the edge from the tip, but ended the first half sloppy and kept UNF in the game. At the end of the first 20 minutes Florida State lead just 32-24 after turning the ball over nine times and shooting just 43.8% including 0-5 from behind the arc.
"I thought we started very efficiently moving the ball, I think it was 16-3," said Leonard Hamilton. "But what I learned tonight is we're not going to be able to sub maybe as liberally as we have with other teams.
"I think tonight I may have taken us out of sync [a little] by our subsitution pattern. But in order for us to get better we're going to have to develop that continuity on the team, but I'm not sure we're there yet."
Terry Whisnant lead the first half scoring with 8, but FSU looked a little off and let UNF hang around a lot longer than they likely intended to. Despite shooting just 32 percent in the first half, the Ospreys connected on 4 of 12 from three-point range to keep them within 8 points at the end of the half.
That was UNF's plan, make FSU shoot the three and try to knock down a few of their own. It didn't work, but it did end up keeping the game close for 40 minutes.
In the second half things got even tighter. UNF got to within four points at the 15:55 mark before Florida State's offense started to take over. During a back and forth second half FSU was finally able to put some distance between themselves and UNF at around the 10-minute mark.
But it didn't last.
The game stayed within a single-digit margin for most of the final ten minutes as UNF tried desperately to solve Florida State's defense.
At the final media timeout, with 3:05 left and UNF trailing by 8, 68-60, the Ospreys attempted to mount their final offensive run. Parker Smith connected on a three pointer to make it a five-point game. Florida State failed to score after taking down the shot clock on their ensuing possession and UNF regained possession off a Terrance Shannon missed lay-in. UNF turned the ball over on its next trip down the court though, and inside of a minute was forced to start fouling.
Devon Bookert sunk a couple of shots from the free throw stripe to put the Seminole lead back to 7 with 52 seconds left before Parker Smith knocked down two free throws of his own to put the game back within two scores with 40 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the Opsreys, there wasn't enough time to get back into it though. Michael Snaer made a couple of free throws on Florida State's next trip down the floor and that ended up being enough for FSU who held on to win 75-67.
Florida State never trailed in this game, but they also never put the Ospreys away like they were capable of either. The defense continued to be stifling and prevented UNF from putting much of anything together outside of the three-point shot. UNF finished the night shooting 37.7% and were also 9-33 from behind the arc, the sheer volume of threes kept them in the game.
The Seminoles did dominate under the glass, where they outrebounded UNF 41-26. They also held on to the ball much better in the second half, but this was not the kind of complete effort that Leonard Hamilton and his team are looking for.
"I'm hopeful and happy we're able to win while we're developing our team," said Hamilton. "I thought [UNF] did a very good job of sticking with their gameplan and I thought they did a better job of executing their gameplan than we did with ours."
"I think physically we gave pretty good effort, but I didn't think we were all on the same page in sync offensively."
Ultimately though, talent won out. Michael Snaer ended the day as the leading scorer with 21 points, 8 rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocks. He made two big back-to-back threes when UNF got things close at around the 10-minute mark in the second half. That was really the backbreaker for the Ospreys, their head coach admitted as much after the game.
Okaro White also added 15 and Terrance Shannon had 12 in a big second half. FSU takes on Minnesota at home in the Big Ten/ACC challenge next Tuesday.
Game Notes: UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll was highly complimentary of Michael Snaer, saying that Snaer lets the game come to him, "he doesn't let having a bad game make him into a bad player..." UNF G Parker Smith scored 20 to lead the Ospreys... UNF changed their defense up several times on Wednesday night and gave Florida State some issues on offense, "we didn't meet the challenges," said Coach Hamilton... FSU shot 80% from the free throw stripe... Leonard Hamilton was unhappy with his team's 17 turnovers and says that must improve before FSU hosts Minnesota on Tuesday... Ian Miller has a bone bruise in his foot, he could have played on Wednesday night but was held out as a precaution. He is expected to play on Tuesday... Michael Snaer said after the game, "it's nice to have a bad offensive night and score 75, normally on a bad night we're in the 50's..."