Florida State defeats Manhattan 81-66 in opener

BY foxsports • November 15, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton acknowledged this wasn't the ideal season opener. The Seminoles were hosting a Manhattan team that made the 2014 NCAA Tournaments as a 13 seed and lost to Louisville by just six points.

The Jaspers jumped out to a 10-point lead and quickly grabbed Florida State's attention before the Seminoles rallied for an 81-66 victory Saturday afternoon in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

''This was a game that a lot of us in coaching try to avoid early in the year,'' Hamilton said. ''You try to play people that give you a little bit more of an opportunity to get your feet under you a little. We didn't have that luxury and this team challenged us in a way I think we needed.''

Aaron Thomas led FSU with a team-high 14 points while Jarquez Smith chipped in 13 points and Montay Brandon added 12. Smith and freshman Phil Cofer grabbed six rebounds apiece.

Manhattan jumped to a 23-13 lead thanks to some deadly shooting from behind the arc. The Jaspers' first seven field goals came from 3-point range. Shane Richards carried the load with 14 first-half points and finished with 17.

Florida State (1-0) had some trouble with the Jaspers' energy early and had 15 first-half turnovers. Fouls, however, fueled the FSU comeback. The Seminoles knocked down 15 of 20 free-throw attempts in the first half, including 11 during a 24-8 run to close the opening 20 minutes and take a 37-31 lead into the break.

Manhattan (0-1) went cold after the hot start and shot just 25.9 percent in the first half and 28.6 percent for the game. Ashton Pankey scored 14 points and snatched seven rebounds, but no other Jasper reached double-digit points.

Florida State shot 50 percent from the field and made 32 of 44 free throws. There were 65 fouls combined between the two teams.

''Fouling negates your rhythm and hustle,'' Manhattan coach Steve Masiello. ''Give Florida State credit, they got out to our shooters. And their size is so imposing when you get in the lane, they force you to make tough twos.''


Manhattan: The Jaspers lived and died from the perimeter. They were outscored 32-12 from inside the point and just didn't have the bulk to compete down low. There wasn't a post game to turn to for easy baskets and guards struggled to penetrate off the dribble. The game got away when the long jumpers stopped falling.

''At the end of the day, I don't think we did what we were really capable of,'' Richards said.

Florida State: The Seminoles spread out the scoring much more with former starters Ian Miller and Okaro White no longer with the team. Six different players scored in double figures. Freshman Robbie Berwick came off the bench to score 11 points and Kiel Turpin returned from a leg injury that kept him of 2013-14 to finish with 13 points. Devin Bookert had 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and six turnovers.


Manhattan plays at Massachusetts on Tuesday.

Florida State hosts Northeastern on Tuesday.


Hamilton said Florida State freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes had to sit out due to playing in an unsanctioned event. He will be available Tuesday. Rathan-Mayes may be the most anticipated player on the FSU roster after sitting out 2013-14 due to academics.


Masiello hopes not to see many similar games this season. The two teams combined for 65 fouls and shot 80 free throws. Neither team felt they got into a good offensive rhythm.

''I might have to push my dinner plans back (due to) how long that game took,'' Masiello said. ''My issue with that is, if it's called the same way in January, I'm OK with it. But I feel every year in college basketball this happens.''