FSU relies on defense to cruise past George Washington
WASHINGTON (AP) — Xavier Rathan-Mayes and C.J. Walker both scored 11 points as Florida State used a suffocating defense to defeat short-handed George Washington 67-48 on Sunday in the BB&T Classic.
Dwayne Bacon added 10 points for the Seminoles (7-1), who have won three in a row since a Thanksgiving Day loss to Temple in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
"We felt if we didn’t come here and play with a sense of urgency, there was a possibility things wouldn’t turn out well," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I thought our guys responded real well defensively, and in the first half I thought we executed very well offensively."
Florida State never trailed while badgering George Washington (5-4) with their size and length. The Colonials committed 18 turnovers and shot just 22.6 percent from the field and 17.4 percent from 3-point range. George Washington especially struggled in the first half, shooting 20 percent while committing 11 turnovers en route to a 35-19 deficit.
George Washington played without two of its regulars. Junior guard Yuta Watanabe, the team’s second-leading scorer, missed his fourth consecutive game with a calf injury. Graduate student Patrick Steeves sat out his second game in a row with a knee injury.
Freshman Kevin Marfo led George Washington with a career-high 18 points.
"You could make all the excuses in the world — we played yesterday, we have injuries, this that and the third," George Washington interim coach Maurice Joseph said. "We’re not going to make excuses. We got our butts kicked. Now we have to see how we respond."
Florida State, which led as many as 35, dominated inside with a 34-18 scoring advantage in the paint.
The Seminoles kept Colonials forward Tyler Cavanaugh, the team’s top scorer at 18.1 points per game, to just eight points and six rebounds and limited guard Jaren Sina to nine points on 2 of 9 shooting.
"We had a great mindset coming into this game," Rathan-Mayes said. "They have two main guys on their team in Sina and Cavanaugh, and we wanted to limit their touches, take away post catches and really make it tough on them. They were a two-headed snake and if we were able to cut that off, we were going to be able to hold them to a low field goal percentage and I think we did a great job of that."
Florida State: Leonard Hamilton’s team, which routinely visited the Washington area when Maryland was still in the ACC, showed off its depth against George Washington. All 12 Seminoles who played scored in the rout.
George Washington: The Colonials, who edged South Florida 68-67 on Saturday, were overwhelmed by Florida State while playing their second game in a little more than 24 hours.
Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac, who started the Seminoles’ first seven games and is averaging 15.1 points, sat out with a hip flexor.
After George Washington tied it at 5, Rathan-Mayes hit a 3-pointer with 14:07 left in the first half and Christ Koumadje followed with a dunk two possessions later for the Seminoles. Florida State’s lead never dipped to less than five the rest of the way.
Florida State has a quick turnaround when it returns home and plays host to Southern Mississippi on Tuesday. It’s the start of a three-game homestand over six days for the Seminoles.
George Washington travels to Philadelphia on Wednesday to begin a home-and-home series against former Atlantic 10 rival Temple. The teams last met when Temple earned a 90-77 victory in the 2015 NIT.