UCF-Florida St. Preview

BY foxsports • November 14, 2011

Coach Leonard Hamilton believes Florida State is going to get the best effort of nearly every opponent it faces. That's even likelier to be the case now that his team is in the Top 25.

Back in the AP poll after starting the season one spot away, the 25th-ranked Seminoles look to build off a season-opening win Monday night at home as they face Central Florida for the first time in 23 years.

Florida State (1-0) made it to the NCAA regional semifinals last season thanks to a defense that was one of the nation's best, but it had to replace Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen - its two leading scorers.

The loss of that duo was a big reason the Seminoles were left just outside the Top 25 of the preseason poll, but they're back in after playing only 40 minutes. Michael Snaer and Deividas Dulkys had 16 points apiece in a 79-67 win over Jacksonville on Friday.

"We are going to get most teams' best shot," Hamilton told the Seminoles' official website. "I am happy to come away with the victory. I will look at the film and see the areas where we need to improve.

"I said at the beginning of the year that we would win games by committee."

Singleton - the ACC's two-time reigning defensive player of the year - left the Seminoles with a big hole in the middle, but Terrance Shannon looked capable of filling those shoes Friday as part of a bench that contributed 42 points. The junior forward had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

"Terrance was a guy tonight that I thought gave us all the hustle baskets," Hamilton said.

Shannon will have his hands full Monday with Keith Clanton, UCF's preseason all-conference big man. The junior looked the part Saturday, scoring a game-high 18 points as the Knights (1-0) opened with a 74-61 victory over St. Thomas (Fla.) while using only eight players.

Clanton had six blocks but also had four of UCF's 20 turnovers.

"We're just happy for the victory," coach Donnie Jones said. "The guys found a way to win. It is much better to win ugly, and we found a way to do that. We are just happy with the victory tonight."

The Knights figure to need another big effort from Clanton with the status of some of his teammates up in the air. Junior Marcus Jordan - the team's leading scorer last season at 15.2 points per game - and fellow projected starters P.J. Gaynor and Josh Crittle were held out Saturday for team rule violations.

Jordan and Gaynor are game-time decisions Monday, while Crittle won't play.

Senior A.J. Rompza continues to be withheld pending the outcome of an NCAA investigation into the school's football and basketball recruiting practices.

This is the first meeting between the in-state rivals since Florida State's 97-64 win in 1988.

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