Florida State handled their business against an inferior opponent on Monday, winning 63-48 over ULM, but it was hardly the kind of effort that head coach Leonard Hamilton was looking for.
"You're always happy when you come away with a win, when you don't play as well as you think you should be playing," said Hamilton after the game. "The disappointment [is] a lot of the progress we're showing in practice is not translating to the games."
The Seminoles struggled early and took most of the first half before they finally began to take hold of the game. Early on things were not running smoothly for the 'Noles, though.
Michael Snaer was not in the lineup on Monday night, instead replaced by Aaron Thomas as Snaer watched from the bench. Afterwards coach Hamilton explained that it was a disicipline issue.
"We didn't have Michael available tonight," said Hamilton. "It was a discipline issue, but it's not something that I'm overly concerned about, it's over with, done with. He'll be back to his regular position."
Florida state shot 47% in the first half but shot selection was poor initially and the team took a while to get into their offense, opting to go with a number of questionable jumpers early on rather than try and press their size advantage to get inside on ULM.
At the end of the first half it was 30-25, with Okaro White (11 points) and Thomas (8) carrying the early load.
In the second half things finally started to open up a little bit for the Seminoles, within the first media timeout they had pulled ahead by 10, but ULM quickly stormed back and got within five.
The two teams would trade baskets for a few minutes before Florida State finally pulled away for good. Despite being able to put some distance between themselves and ULM, the Seminoles actually shot worse in the second half, dropping from 47 to 35 percent (40 on the night). Their defense improved though, as they continued to hold ULM's shooters at bay and limited their ability to get to the hoop. Florida State held ULM to just 23 second-half points, out-rebounded the Warhawks and forced a number of crucial turnovers that ended up giving them the edge.
Still, the Seminoles know they have a ways to go on both sides of the ball before ACC play starts.
"We have some challenges coming up, tomorrow we'll go back to work," said Hamilton, who will begin preparing his Seminoles for a neutral site game against 10-1 Charlotte on 12/22.
"I think we need those types of situations to challenge us to put ourselves in ACC type atmospheres we're going to have to play in [once the conference season starts]."
On the night Okaro White finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Aaron Thomas added 17 points and Devon Bookert added 10. Michael Snaer and Ian Miller did not play a single minute.
Next up for Florida State (6-4) is Charlotte on 12/22, on 12/29 FSU will play Tulsa down in Miami.
Game Notes: Hamilton mentioned that despite the product on the court Monday night, the team's practices had been going extremely well lately, the results just haven't translated... Terrance Shannon practiced a couple times during the week, but was still rusty according to Leonard Hamilton... FSU has its next five games on the road before heading home to host UNC on 1/12... Aaron Thomas had a good offensive performance with 17 points but coach Hamilton said he felt Thomas was at times indecisive offensively, Thomas' best is still ahead of him per Hamilton... Robert Gilchrist is fighting a groin pull and is questionable for this weekend, Ian Miller is doubtful... One thing Leonard Hamilton said has to improve is his team's play against the screen, an issue he attributed to inexperience... Another deficiency Hamilton is disappointed in is his team's ability to get inside and attack the basket, as his big men (Ojo and Bojanovsky) develop, he feels that issue should take care of itself... Finally, Michael Ojo, the 7-3 center from Nigeria received a specially made pair of size 21 Nikes, it is the first pair of shoes Ojo has ever owned that fit. He arrived in Tallahassee with a pair of size 17 sneakers, he wears a 21.