Twenty second ranked Florida State was expected to win big and that’s exactly what the Seminoles did in demolishing Alabama A&M 81-34.
The Bulldogs (3-5 on the season) never had a chance against the taller, faster, and more athletic ‘Noles. The only moral victory A&M could take away from the game was that they actually led the Seminoles at one point in the game. For about thirty seconds, that is, a couple of minutes into the game at 5-3.
After that it was pretty much all Seminoles, who set or tied several school records and career highs.
The 34 points allowed was the fewest points given up at the Donald L. Tucker Center and equaled the school record for fewest points allowed in a game set against Memphis in 1979.
In addition to that the ‘Noles gave up just 10 points in the second half allowing just three baskets, matching the mark of fewest points in a half set earlier this season against Stetson.
Career highs were achieved by Xavier Gibson with 17 points and Jordon DeMercy with 10 rebounds. Devidas Dulkys tied his career high point total with 19, that included five three-pointers to lead all scorers. In addition Derwin Kitchen had a career high ten assists against just one turnover.
With his five blocked shots totaling 127 and counting in his career, Solomon Alabi moved into fourth place in school history passing Douglas Edwards.Michael Snaer extended his streak of double digits to five games in scoring 10 points.
Also added to Gibson’s line were 8 rebounds, with five off the offensive boards, converting three into six second chance points.
FSU did have to shake off a little rust early on in struggling a bit with shooting in the first half, but managed to take a 39-24 halftime lead.
The ‘Noles ended any doubt with a 13-0 run coming out of intermission. A&M did not score until 13:48 was left in the game on a layup by Bulldogs’ leading scorer Casey Cantey (17 ppg) who was held to just 4 points.
All that remained to be determined was the final margin and when the walk-ons would enter the game.
A&M offered little resistance despite trying to control the tempo as the Seminoles finished the game shooting 51% and 35% from behind the arc. The ‘Noles dominated the boards as well by a 50 to 30 margin.
As you would expect Leonard Hamilton was generally pleased with his team’s performance, praising numerous players. “Xavier was more precise with his movements. Michael Snaer is getting a better feel for the game. Luke Loucks I felt gave us great leadership tonight. And Derwin was getting the ball to the right player.”
On a night when Chris Singleton and Alabi struggled with their offense Hamilton was happy to see other players, especially ones coming off the bench to step up.
“We have to have a good bench to succeed in the ACC,” Hamilton said. “We might not have the five best guys in the ACC but we’ll play eleven guys and wear you down.”
Of course the head coach would have to find some areas of concern. Among them were turnovers the team compiled, with Singleton having difficulty taking care of the ball, racking up 7 of the team’s 20 miscues.
Also, once again the team was not good at the free throw line, connecting on 14-23 (61%).The Seminoles improved their record to 12-2 and will have one last out of conference game before picking up with league play. FSU will host Perry Clark’s Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders Tuesday night with tip off at 7 PM.
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