College Basketball
Bacon's shooting changes pay off in Florida State opener
College Basketball

Bacon's shooting changes pay off in Florida State opener

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:12 a.m. ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State's Dwayne Bacon said a major focus of improvement during the offseason was working on refining his jump shot. The early results are encouraging judging by Saturday's opener.

The sophomore guard scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Seminoles' 88-67 win over Charleston Southern.

''It was pretty good. I didn't just settle for a lot of 3s. I feel like I took a lot but I got to the basket too and mixed it up a lot,'' said Bacon, who last season became the first freshman in school history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding,

The 6-foot-7 guard struggled shooting from the perimeter last season, making only 28.1 percent from beyond the arc. On Saturday, he was 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, including one off a ball screen, and 7 of 14 from the field.


Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was not only pleased about Bacon's shooting, but his all-around game.

''I thought his defense was good, his energy was excellent and his shot selection was great. He made good decisions with the ball,'' Hamilton said.

The rest of the Seminoles also shot well, going 33 of 67 from the field. Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 12 points and freshman Jonathan Isaac added 10 as FSU improved to 14-1 in openers under Hamilton.

Charleston Southern was up 17-12 early in the first half on a Cortez Mitchell 3-pointer before the Seminoles took the lead for good with a 20-5 run. FSU's largest lead was 22 with under a minute remaining.

Freshman guard Christian Keeling led the Buccaneers with 16 points while Mitchell added 14 and Jamar Martin 12. They struggled on 3-pointers, making just 7 of 25.

''I thought we did some good things defensively and held our own on the boards,'' Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh said.


Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers have eight newcomers on their roster and are still trying to figure out how everyone fits.

Florida State: The Seminoles' shift to an up-tempo offense showed some growing pains. They scored 18 points on the fast break but also had 10 turnovers. They also controlled the paint with a decisive 48-28 edge.


Florida State led 38-32 at halftime but was able to put it away with a 14-2 run to begin the second half. Rathan-Mayes and Isaac each had five points during the run but Isaac had the highlight play with an alley-oop dunk off a Terrance Mann assist to make it 45-32 with 17:41 remaining.


''If he shoots like that, it opens a whole new world for him. He puts the ball on the floor well. He has the ability to get to a spot and, with his size, jump up and make shots. To guard him on the line is significant even in the ACC. If he can do that then that gives you a whole other dimension. It will open driving angles and makes teams have to spread out a bit.'' - Radebaugh on Bacon.


Charleston Southern: Has its home opener on Tuesday against Columbia (South Carolina) International. The Rams are members of the National Christian College Athletic Association.

Florida State: Returns to action on Tuesday against Iona, which made the NCAA Tournament last season.


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