No. 24 Florida State bounces back from first loss of season
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State struggled for the first 21 minutes of Monday night’s game against Charleston Southern, but it found success by playing zone defense and getting to the rim on offense during an 8-minute span in the second half.
The 24th-ranked Seminoles went on a 21-4 run as they defeated the Buccaneers 69-58. Phil Cofer scored 19 points to lead Florida State, which bounced back from its first loss of the season on Saturday against Oklahoma State.
“We got the ball moving. At halftime we talked about driving the ball because they were much smaller than us,” said Terance Mann, who scored 17 points.
The Seminoles, who had a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint, scored all but three points in the paint during the run as Cofer and Mann scored six points each. FSU was 11 of 12 from the field during the run, and all but one of the baskets was either a layup or a dunk.
“In the first half we weren’t moving well with the ball. We came out in the second half and were moving a lot better,” Cofer said.
Charleston Southern trailed 28-26 at halftime. It got within one (30-29) on a 3-pointer by Christian Keeling before FSU went on its run.
“The zone for 7-8 minutes in the second half just shook us,” coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We were patient and got some great looks in the first half but there was those 7-8 minutes in the second half where we couldn’t attack their defense.”
Charleston Southern (4-6), which has dropped four straight, was led by Keeling’s 21 points, and Travis McConico added 17. The Buccaneers outrebounded FSU by 13 but shot just 21 of 58 from the field.
Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers are the 11th youngest team in Division I, but Radebaugh thought this game was a good chance to see how much his team has matured. Jamaal David, a 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman, got his first start and had eight points in 13 minutes. The point guard had four assists but he also committed four turnovers.
“It is the first time he has played extended minutes but he handled himself well. He missed a couple shots that when we get into conference play he will normally make,” Radebaugh said.
Florida State: The Seminoles rarely played zone in their first 10 games but went to it extensively during the second half and had success. That should bode well with Atlantic Coast Conference play less than two weeks away.
“I think it is a little more evident that we are still a work in progress. We’re still trying to find that level of consistency,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We’re showing we’re vulnerable in a couple areas but have areas where we are growing.”
Charleston Southern’s Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who is the Big South’s freshman of the week, missed the game with a severely sprained toe on his right foot. Fleming is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengale, who is averaging 9.3 points and is third in blocked shots with nine, also missed the game with a sore foot.
TALE OF TWO HALVES
After shooting 11 of 28 from the field in the first half (39.3 percent), the Seminoles made 16 of 24 shots in the final 20 minutes.
Florida State extended its home winning streak to 25, which is the third-longest in the nation behind Cincinnati (31) and SMU (29).
Charleston Southern: Hosts Johnson & Wales on Thursday.
Florida State: Hosts Southern Mississippi on Thursday.