Stetson-Florida St. Preview

BY foxsports • November 15, 2011

While the departure of Chris Singleton left Florida State with a big hole to fill, it hasn't had any trouble finding someone to step up.

The 25th-ranked Seminoles look to win their 24th straight at home over in-state foe Stetson on Wednesday night.

Florida State (2-0) lost its top two scorers from last season's team, which went 23-11 and reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. Singleton, the ACC's defensive player of the year in 2009-10 and the team's leading scorer (13.1 points per game) and rebounder (6.8) in 2010-11, seemed to be the hardest player to replace.

However, the Seminoles have seen a different interior player step up each game. After Terrance Shannon finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in a 79-67 win over Jacksonville on Friday, Bernard James had 18 points, 11 boards and three blocked shots in a 73-50 win over Central Florida on Monday.

Florida State held the Knights to 30.5-percent shooting and outrebounded them 46-31.

"He got some big boy rebounds," coach Leonard Hamilton said of James. "He has a way of clogging up the middle. ... I think he has only scratched the surface of his potential."

James, who started 22 games last season, averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds overall, struggled with an ankle injury in the opener against Jacksonville, finishing with one point in 15 minutes.

One thing James wasn't happy with Monday was his free-throw shooting. He was 2 of 8 at the line while his team finished 14 of 25, including 2 of 7 in the first half.

"It's horrible," James said. "I'll be putting up free throws all week long."

The Seminoles will try Wednesday to continue their domination of Stetson (2-0), which is looking to win three straight to open a season for the first time since 2000-01.

The Hatters, out of the Atlantic Sun Conference, are coming off a 78-60 win at Florida A&M on Monday. They overcame 26 turnovers by holding the Rattlers to 32.4-percent shooting while outrebounding them 54-31.

Adam Pegg scored 15 points while Joel Naburgs had a career-high 11 rebounds.

Despite the victory, Stetson coach Casey Alexander wasn't pleased by another game of sloppy ball-handling, although he felt there was improvement. The Hatters had 29 turnovers in a 65-60 win over Bethune-Cookman on Friday.

"If you put the entire 40 minutes together (Monday), it was significantly better than the first game," Alexander said. "We all know there is miles and miles of improvement to go."

Stetson has a few outside threats, having gone 13 of 26 from beyond the arc in its first two games. Naburgs is 5 of 9 and Aaron Graham is 3 of 6, but Florida State has been effective at defending the 3-point shot, with opponents shooting 23.4 percent (11 of 47).

This will be the 10th straight season the programs are meeting. The Seminoles have won 16 in a row overall and 23 straight at home between the two, including a 97-63 victory last year.

Stetson's last win in the series was a 63-54 victory in 1975.

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