Stetson's rally falls short in 79-66 loss to FSU
Stetson looked sloppy early, missing baskets and turning the ball over as the Hatters tried to keep pace with No. 25 Florida State on Wednesday night.
Stetson's rally fell short but it was able to hang in there against the Seminoles, who last season reached the NCAA round of 16.
The Hatters at one point made four straight 3-pointers - part of a 16-0 run in the first half - to keep the game close before Florida State took control in a 79-66 win.
Joel Narburgs had 14 points, and J.R. Weston and Chris Perez had 11 points apiece for Stetson (2-1), which was 25 of 67 (37.3 percent) from the floor in the game.
''We played reckless early on,'' first-year Stetson coach Casey Alexander said. ''Once we settled down, we got better shots, we played within the framework of our offense, we shared the ball better, we quit throwing it to them and we got a high-percentage shot.''
Against a deep, talented and physical Florida State frontcourt, Stetson tried at times to go inside but often decided to put up a 3-point attempt. The Hatters made 10 of 33 (30.3 percent) of their long range shots for the game.
''We didn't go into the game saying, `Hey we're just going to let it fly,''' Alexander said. ''But that is part of what we do and we're always going to take them when they're available to us.''
Florida State (3-0) outscored Stetson in the paint 48-26. Forwards Okaro White (18 points) and Bernard James (15 points) combined to shoot 15 of 19 from the floor. And James had his second consecutive double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds against Central Florida on Monday night.
The Seminoles have won 17 straight against the Hatters dating to 1975.
Florida State made its first seven shots to build a 17-7 lead, and the Seminoles later went on a 9-0 run to extend it to 33-14 with 6:48 left in the first half.
Stetson responded with four 3-pointers as part of its big run to cut the deficit to 33-30 with 2:22 left in the first half. Florida State's second-half lead slipped to 48-41 with 17:24 left, but that was the closest the Hatters could get the rest of the way.
''Maybe this was a good opportunity for us to see how effective we can be against a good 3-point shooting team,'' Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. ''Maybe we'll learn from this and hopefully be a little more prepared (in future games).''
Alexander said he is proud of the way Stetson fought back after a sluggish start on the road. He thinks it's something the Hatters can build on as they get deeper into a non-conference schedule that also includes road dates with Florida and Indiana.
''The first thing you have to do to be any good regardless of level is compete,'' Alexander said. ''And I thought our guys did that. I'm proud of them for that.''