FSU takes control early, pulls away late to beat Kennesaw State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — After being limited by ankle and foot injuries the past two years, Florida State’s Phil Cofer is starting to show some glimpses of the potential he showed as a freshman.
The 6-foot-8 senior forward tied a career high with 21 points and finished a rebound shy of his second double-double as the Seminoles defeated Kennesaw State 98-79 on Wednesday.
“It feels pretty good,” said Cofer, who was 9 of 11 from the field in 28 minutes. “I kept coming back to the bench and they said keeping working on the offense and rebounding.”
Cofer had 21 points and 11 rebounds against Pittsburgh on Jan. 14, 2015. He averaged 6.9 points that season, which was 14th among Atlantic Coast Conference freshmen, but struggled after that due to injuries, averaging 3.2 points.
In FSU’s first four games, Cofer has scored in double-figures twice and is averaging 12.8 points.
“Even though our system requires him to be on the perimeter a lot, we are trying to challenge him to get more rebounds,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He is getting rebounds and finishing around the basket.”
Cofer scored the Seminoles’ first seven points as they opened the game with a 9-0 run and led by as many as 19 (51-30) late in the first half.
Kennesaw State cut the margin to 54-42 at halftime and got it down to nine points on a James Scott 3-pointer. But Florida State (4-0) broke it open again with a 10-0 run and led by as many as 25 (83-58) with 8:22 remaining.
Braian Angola also matched a career high with 17 points, including 14 in the second half. Terance Mann scored 13 and MJ Walker 11.
Scott led the Owls (1-4) with 17 points and Tyler Hooker added 16.
“The most important thing for us was getting open,” Kennesaw State coach Al Skinner said. “They are big, long and athletic. There were times when their execution on defense impacted what we were doing.”
Kennesaw State: Scott, a 6-foot-5 sophomore shooting guard, continues to play well for the Owls. He has scored in double figures in four of five games this season after scoring 10 or more points in seven games last season.
Florida State: The Seminoles had 11 3-pointers, marking the third straight game they have had nine or more. However, Hamilton was not pleased about allowing too many uncontested shots.
“This team has the potential to be good, but we still have ways to go,” Hamilton said. “We need more games to continue rounding into shape. We have to get inexperienced guys more playing time.”
Christ Koumadje, who had started the Seminoles’ first three games, did not play due to a foot injury. The 7-foot-4 center’s place in the starting lineup was taken over by 7-0 freshman Ike Obiagu, who had four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
HOME SWEET HOME
Florida State has won 23 straight games at home, which is tied with Texas Southern for the fourth-longest current streak in Division I. Oregon has the longest at 46 followed by Cincinnati (29) and SMU (26).
Kennesaw State returns home to face Tennessee State on Saturday.
Florida State will have its second home game in three days when it takes on The Citadel on Friday.
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