TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s Deividas Dulkys wasn’t about to let a slump keep him from shooting.
After going 0 of 4 from 3-point range in consecutive games and missing his first two attempts on Sunday, Dulkys got his stroke back.
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The 6-foot-4 sophomore from Lithuania connected on five of his next eight shots from beyond the arc and finished with a career-high 19 points as No. 21 Florida State overcame a slow start to defeat outsized Florida International 82-62.
“I know I’d missed eight in a row in the last couple of games and coming into today I know I had to step it up,” Dulkys said. “I try not to think about what happened in the past. Every shot I take is a shot that I think is going to go in.”
The Seminoles broke the game open with a 26-3 run late in the first half that helped them build a 34-17 halftime lead.
Florida State took the lead for good at 18-15 on Dulkys’ first 3-pointer with 7:21 left in the half.
“No doubt about it, it really helps his confidence,” said Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, who wants Dulkys to shoot whenever he’s open.
FIU managed just one field goal over the final 11:02 of the half, shooting just 22.2 percent over that span.
“The last 3 minutes of the first half, the game really got away from us,” first-year Panthers coach Isiah Thomas said. “They were really able to score in transition off our turnovers.”
Florida State (7-2) scored the first nine points of the second half to build a 43-17 lead and opened it to 49-19.
Marvin Roberts led FIU (3-8) with 18 points while Marlon Bright had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the height disadvantage, FIU managed 34 rebounds, one less than Florida State.
Seven-foot-1 sophomore Solomon Alabi added 13 points for the Seminoles, while freshman Michael Snaer had 12.
“Not only do they have size, but great athleticism with their size,” Thomas said. “Their athleticism out there on the floor is alarming sometimes.”
The Seminoles shot 60.7 percent in the second half after a chilly 35.7 percent in the first.
Sophomore Luke Loucks had seven assists while handling point guard duties in place of injured Derwin Kitchen, who was nursing a groin strain.
Loucks, however, found himself on the bench after an errant between-the-legs pass late in the game.
“I heard him yell,” Loucks said. “I knew I was out.”
Nine of the 11 players used by Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton in the game scored.
It was Florida State’s first home game in 18 days after a six-game trip that ended with a 77-64 loss at No. 15 Ohio State on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“We haven’t had an opportunity to do a lot of practice,” a relieved Hamilton said.
The Seminoles break for semester finals and play next against Georgia State on Dec. 15.