After a bit of a misstep in their season opener on Friday, Florida State put its best foot forward on Monday night beating Buffalo 95-68.
"There's no question that Okaro, and Mike and Terrance are going to have to carry us while we develop," said Leonard Hamilton. All three turned in good performances on Monday night.
Lead by Okaro White's ten first half points, the Seminoles had little trouble opening up against the Bulls after an inconsistent performance against South Alabama just a few days before. The loss put a terrible taste in Florida State's mouths and lead to a couple of hard weekend workouts that seemed to have paid off on Monday night.
"We held a players only meeting [on Sunday]," said Okaro White. "Me, Mike and Terrance really expressed our feelings to the young guys and we basically were telling them we let down everybody who has helped to build this program. We're still not there yet, but you know first game, the home opener, raising the ACC banner and we basically let down the older guys who had worked to win the ACC championship."
"Nobody used the phone, nobody wanted to talk to anyone [last Friday], it was horrible," said Terrance Shannon. "I had a sour taste in my mouth as well, because I knew where we were... but me personally I was embarrassed."
Florida State has said all year it would take a while for their young team to round into form. They weren't supposed to lose to South Bama, but considering the losses they took early last year, one or two early mistakes likely won't sink this team.
They cannot afford more than a couple though, much like last year when the 'Noles dropped embarrassing games to Harvard and Princeton, USA falls into that category too. On Monday, Florida State did its best to bury that game and put a better product on the court.
12 players saw first-half minutes with ten scoring and Devon Bookert and Michael Ojo contributing in their own ways. Leonard Hamilton has said he views the first few games almost like a preseason so you can expect FSU's rotation to look different in Brooklyn this weekend, but against Buffalo the 'Noles got plenty of young guys minutes and unlike Friday, it didn't come at the expense of productivity.
The second half was a lot closer than Florida State would have liked though, with Buffalo pulling to within 8 points at around the ten-minute mark. The Seminoles quickly got on a roll though. Lead by Michael Snaer, Montay Brandon and Terrance Shannon, FSU went up by 20 with five minutes remaining and coasted the rest of the way to a win.
At the end of the night, Snaer lead the Seminoles in scoring with 19 points in 21 minutes. White finished with 13, Aaron Thomas had 10 and Terry Whisnant and Terrance Shannon both added nine of their own.
Defensively the Seminoles can still clamp down more. They gave up 68 to the Bulls and allowed Buffalo to shoot 50%.
"I'm mindful of the fact there have only been three or four teams in the past few years that have scored over 50% on us," said Hamilton. "I'm glad we've been challenged like that, it says a lot on the defensive end we have a long ways to go. I think you can see [though] we have some young guys with some pretty good potential."
"But as a coach it's obvious we still have a long ways to go."
All things considered though, Florida State is making progress as it prepares for its first road game. Now 1-1, the Seminoles will test themselves at the Barclay Center this weekend against top competition like BYU and either Notre Dame or St. Joe's.
"We hope that our first road trip won't be as much of a struggle as our first home game," said Hamilton. "Tomorrow we'll start preparing. We talked a little bit about travelling on the road, not letting tickets be an issue, not letting family or friends (distract us). This is a business trip for us."
Notes: Hamilton complimented Kile Turpin's defense underneath the hoop... Terry Whisnant didn't start but played 24 minutes and shot 3-5, including 2-3 from three point land... Michael Ojo saw more playing time but came down with cramps... Hamilton said the team is working on all phases, but with his young players says the biggest issue is just adjusting to the college game... Florida State shot 59.6 percent on the evening and 55.6 percent from behind the arc... Terrance Shannon continues to work on his conditioning, he played 17 minutes on Monday night... Walk-on Joey Moreau hit a rare basket to close out regulation, the senior guard went Scalabrine on the Bulls and dropped a three-pointer in the final seconds to bring FSU to 95 points... Hamilton said he is still searching for the rotation, Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon both look to factor heavily and Ian Miller is coming along as well... FSU will likely visit a hospital in Brooklyn to volunteer some time before the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament next weekend.