630732558
(Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Bacon leads No. 19 Florida State to rout of Boston College

Leave a comment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dwayne Bacon had 16 points and 13 Florida State players had at least four points, helping the 19th-ranked Seminoles bounce back from two straight losses with a 104-72 victory over Boston College on Monday night.

Bacon went over the 1,000-point mark for his career on a 3-pointer early in the second half after going scoreless in last Saturday’s loss at Pittsburgh.

PJ Savoy added 15 points and the Seminoles’ bench accounted for 59 points. Jonathan Isaac (14 points) and Jarquez Smith (10) also scored in double figures, and FSU (22-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed and led by 34 (75-41) six minutes into the second half.

Kai Bowman had 24 points and Jerome Robinson 21 for Boston College (9-19, 2-13), which has lost 11 straight and 13 of its last 14.

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: The Eagles have lost 16 straight conference road games, including eight by 20 points or more. The game against Florida State started a stretch when BC plays three of its final four regular season games on the road.

Florida State: The Seminoles have reached double-digit wins in conference play for the first time since going 12-4 in 2011-12. FSU won the ACC Tournament that same season, and it was also the last time it made the NCAA Tournament.

CENTURY MARK

This was the fifth time this season the Seminoles have scored 100 or more points in a game, which is the first time that has happened since 1992-93.

It is the third time they have had two or more 100-point games in ACC play and the first since 1992-93.

UP NEXT

Boston College: The Eagles host Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Hokies won the first game on Jan. 25, 85-79.

Florida State: The Seminoles travel to Clemson on Saturday. They beat the Tigers by 48 points (109-61) on Feb. 5.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/joereedy

Three Takeaways from Georgia Tech’s blowout win over No. 6 Florida State

631155364
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Georgia Tech pulled off another upset in the ACC on Wednesday night as they jumped out to a huge first-half lead and never looked back in a 78-56 win over No. 6 Florida State.

1. Georgia Tech shouldn’t be taken lightly

Before this season began new head coach Josh Pastner made some statements about how the Yellow Jackets didn’t have a lot to be ready for the ACC this season. Something like that was to be expected. Georgia Tech (12-8, 4-4) is supposed to be rebuilding right now and a lot of their pieces are young.

Except Georgia Tech has accelerated its rebuild by showcasing some really talented young players who are proving to be capable ACC players.

Freshman Josh Okogie has been one of the best freshmen in college basketball in terms of production and he backed that up with 35 points, 13 rebounds and five assists on Wednesday. Nobody has put up numbers like that in an ACC game since 2009. Junior Ben Lammers (18 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) has improved a ton since last season as he’s now one of the nation’s shot blockers.

Of the four double-figure scorers on the Yellow Jackets only Quinton Stephens (13 points) is a senior while Tadric Jackson is only a junior.

With ACC wins over North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson and Florida State, that is a pretty solid group of wins so far as Georgia Tech sits as the surprising .500 team in the loaded ACC.

2. Florida State’s defense was disappointing 

The Seminoles (18-3, 6-2) losing on the road in the ACC wasn’t the disappointing part of Wednesday. It was how poorly Florida State played coming off of back-to-back ranked wins over Notre Dame and Louisville.

Off-nights on the offensive end are bound to happen — and that was certainly the case for Florida State on Wednesday night. Dwayne Bacon (12 points, 4-for-15) had a rough shooting night and freshman Jonathan Isaac (six points, 3-for-10 shooting) slowed down a bit after a hot recent stretch. Florida State only shot 28 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range. Some nights, the jumper just isn’t going to go.

But Florida State’s defense didn’t show up in a game where they could have stayed in it had they gotten stops. Georgia Tech jumped out to the huge early lead and ended up piling 41 points on the Seminoles in the first half.

3. Florida State needs to bounce back quickly on the road

The next two games for Florida State also come on the road as they still have to play at Syracuse and Miami during this three-game swing. Losing this badly to Georgia Tech to start this three-game trip as the co-leader of the ACC is not a good look for Florida State, especially when teams like Duke and Notre Dame lost on Tuesday night.

Florida State still only has one road win this season, and that win came at Virginia so it was really good, but it also points to the Seminoles being inconsistent away from home. These next two games are going to be more chances for Florida State to prove that they can win on the road and be a factor in the ACC conference race.

Five Takeaways from No. 10 Florida State’s win over No. 12 Louisville

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Dwayne Bacon #4 of the Florida State Seminoles drives to the basket against the Illinois Fighting Illiniin the second half during the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center on November 25, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
2 Comments

Using a hot start in which they jumped out to a 16-2 lead, No. 10 Florida State held on from there as they outlasted No. 12 Louisville for a 73-68 ACC home win.

The Seminoles (18-2, 6-1) led for the entire game as this was a one-point game with under two minutes left with a chance for Louisville to take the lead.

Florida State ultimately held on as I have five takeaways from this one.

1. Jonathan Isaac is getting comfortable

Florida State’s stud freshman registered 16 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday, making a number of key late plays on both ends of the floor. Isaac has put together three straight double-doubles and it looks like the 6-foot-10 forward is getting very comfortable with this team. The Seminoles become so dangerous with Isaac playing like this because they already have talented scorers like Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann and Xavier Rathan-Mayes around him.

Isaac fits in very well alongside those guys because he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be productive like Malik Beasley did last season. At 6-foot-10, Isaac can rebound both ends of the floor, is a menace defending multiple positions and he’s making tougher face-up plays on the offensive end. With Isaac playing this way, Florida State can reach a new level.

2. Louisville will be fine without Quentin Snider during his injury

When Florida State jumped out to a 16-2 lead before the first television timeout, it looked like Louisville was going to be in deep trouble. Credit first and foremost goes to Louisville for fighting back and making this a one-point game with under two minutes left. The Cardinals looked like they had no business taking a go-ahead shot with the way they played early.

It also showed that Louisville should be okay without point guard Quentin Snider during his injury. After dismantling Clemson at home, the Cardinals went toe-to-toe with a top-10 team on the road and fell just short after a slow start.

Louisville obviously needs to find someone who can start more quickly so that the Cardinals don’t have an awful start like they did on Saturday. But this team shouldn’t make a big slide down the standings without Snider in the lineup.

3. Florida State’s defense can take away main options

One of the impressive things about Florida State’s defense on Saturday was how they took sophomores Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel and neutralized them after the duo combined for 36 points in the win over Clemson.

Mitchell and Adel were only held to 18 points on 6-for-23 shooting on Saturday as the Seminole defense did the best they could to harass those two into a bad game. With Mitchell and Adel struggling to drum up consistent points, the Cardinals had to turn to Tony Hicks as the senior graduate transfer took 17 shots and led the team with 17 points.

If Louisville wants to beat elite teams, then Tony Hicks can’t be the guy shooting that many shots. If teams are going to be keyed in on Adel and Mitchell then Louisville needs to adjust its gameplan or have a more balanced backup plan in place for offense.

Back to Florida State’s defense though, they have the type of long and athletic defenders that they can throw at you in waves and they also have length at the rim with guys like Michael Ojo and Isaac. They’re a tough group to score on if they’re focused.

4. The Florida State offense still needs work

Florida State’s March ceiling will ultimately come down to which offense they bring to the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles have the length, athleticism and rotation to wear down teams on defense if they want to. As we’ve seen with Leonard Hamilton teams of the past, the Seminoles’ offense can be maddeningly inconsistent.

The good news is that Florida State has been efficient as a whole. We know that Florida State might be built to last because they’re pulling off the impressive feat of ranking in the top 30 in KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency, adjusted defensive efficiency and adjusted tempo.

Not many teams in the country play fast and can play well on both ends of the floor. Florida State can. But the offense can still stall out at times and go to too much hero ball. Lots of talent remains on the floor for the Seminoles but isolation-heavy sets can take foot. When this team stops moving the ball they can be in trouble.

5. We’ll know if Florida State is in the ACC race after this three-game road trip

For as much praise as we’ve given Florida State this season — and much of it justifiably so — the Seminoles also only have one true road win this season.

That road win happened to come at Virginia, which has been one of the toughest places to play in the country the last few seasons, so that erased some doubts for Florida State, but this next three-game trip should teach us a lot about this group.

With three winnable games coming up at Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Miami, the Seminoles can make a statement that they can compete for the ACC title if they take care of teams like that on this trip.

If Florida State returns from that trip 3-0 then it will be time to really take them seriously in the ACC race.

 

Three takeaways as No. 12 Florida State takes down No. 21 Virginia Tech

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - DECEMBER 31:  The Florida State Seminoles congratulate Dwayne Bacon #4 of the Florida State Seminoles after making a winning shot during their game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on December 31, 2016 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Continuing its unbeaten start in the ACC, No. 12 Florida State used its deep and athletic rotation to get past No. 21 Virginia Tech with a 93-78 ACC home win on Saturday.

The Seminoles (15-1, 3-0) continued to show that they are a major threat in the ACC and beyond with this win.

Here are three takeaways from this one.

Florida State has a chance to be really scary

With 11 consecutive victories, Florida State has it rolling on the hardwood. And this team has an even higher ceiling thanks to some young pieces who are still figuring things out.

We know that Leonard Hamilton teams are going to defend. The thing that makes this Seminoles team unique is that this group defends and has plenty of talented offensive weapons. We’ve seen what players like Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes can do scoring the ball in so many ways while Terance Mann is also a point producer who led with 22 in the win on Saturday.

Freshman Jonathan Isaac fits in so well with the wing scorers because he’s comfortable not taking many shots while defending multiple spots and rebounding at a high level. Overall, this starting five is a ton of fun to watch as they have high-upside scorers with players like Isaac who are complimenting the defense well.

Of the KenPom top 50 defenses, Florida State is one of three teams that is also top 50 in tempo (Kentucky and North Carolina being the other two). That shows that the Seminoles can defend, get up and down and play with anybody in the country and their depth and athleticism is going to wear a lot of teams down.

Don’t sleep on Florida State’s talented bench

One of the impressive parts of Florida State’s win over Virginia Tech was the play of its bench. When we talk about the Seminoles it can be easy to get wrapped up in the hype of the big-name scorers and All-Americans but there are also a lot of quality role players on this team.

When the Seminole starters took a break on Saturday, the bench never let up. Jarquez Smith had 12 points while sophomore PJ Savoy added 11 points. Freshman point guard CJ Walker added seven points. Walker is a hard-nosed lead guard who is a quality second-unit presence while the defense remains intense. Smith is plenty experienced and center Christ Koumadje brings size (7-foot-4!!!) off the bench that not many teams know how to handle.

Virginia Tech still has work to do on the road

We can’t forget about the way Virginia Tech dismantled Duke at home last weekend, but that win does seem like its in the distant past after the Hokies suffered road losses at N.C. State and Florida State this week. Such is life in the brutal gauntlet known as the ACC.

Buzz Williams has done a tremendous job of making Blacksburg a tough place to play but Virginia Tech still has work to do on the road to be considered among the class of the league. The Hokies do deserve credit for a nice true road win at Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge but they have not looked good on the road in two ACC games so far.

Virginia Tech’s next three games come at home, but after that, back-to-back road games at Clemson and North Carolina could really show us if this team is in the conference hunt.

Florida State adds Class of 2017 forward

Leave a comment

Florida State added a Class of 2017 forward RaiQuan Gray on Monday after the playmaker took an official visit to campus. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Gray had a solid summer playing for the Florida Vipers as he’s a bigger wing forward who can create mismatches with his size and ability to handle the ball.

Regarded as a three-star forward and No. 127 overall player in the Rivals Class of 2017 rankings, Gray is a nice addition to the Seminole frontcourt. He joins three-star guard Bryan Trimble Jr. in Florida State’s Class of 2017.

Florida State has done a great job of adding playmaking talent the last few classes and it’ll be interesting to see how Gray fits in with the other ball handling options on the roster.

Florida State coach, guard Rathan-Mayes not on the same page

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2015, file photo, Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes looks to pass the ball down court in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y. With almost all of their returning scorers back and a recruiting class ranked in the Top 25 by most major services, Florida State begins practices this week in what could be an important year for Leonard Hamilton and the program. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi, File)
(AP Photo/Nick Lisi)
Leave a comment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Leonard Hamilton and Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes have been unable to get on the same page, and until they do the sophomore’s playing status remains unclear.

Rathan-Mayes’s may not play in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh after the Atlantic Coast Conference assists leader didn’t play in the Seminoles’ 84-65 loss at No. 17 Louisville.

Hamilton said on Friday he “hasn’t made up his mind yet” on if the 6-foot-4 point guard, who averages a team-leading 30 minutes per game, will face the Panthers.

The benching of Rathan-Mayes, who is averaging 5.3 assists and 12.1 points per game, has not only impacted the Seminoles offensively, but defensively as well. He is third in defensive rebounds on a team that was struggled boxing out during conference play.

The Seminoles (12-6, 2-4 ACC) have been outrebounded in four of six conference games, which is not a surprise to Hamilton. He expected some problems with a four-guard lineup but believes his players can put out a better effort.

Before the Louisville game on Wednesday, the coach said if he had to stop practice each time he needed to stress boxing out, they wouldn’t get much accomplished.

Looking to turn things around against the Panthers might be difficult.

Pittsburgh (15-3, 4-2) comes into the game second in the ACC and 17th in the nation in rebounding margin at 9.1 per game.

“Everyone has been crashing the boards on us,” Hamilton said. “With that lineup teams are bigger, stronger and more athletic but we have to find a way to box out, be more aggressive and fundamentally sound.”

While Florida State’s players aren’t going to magically grow six inches or gain 20 pounds overnight, freshmen Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley say the issues can be corrected with better discipline on the court.

“We can’t come out and have a bad rebounding night. Everyone, even the guards, have to chip in,” said Bacon, a 6-6 guard who is second on the team in points (16.4) and rebounds (5.7) per game. “Some nights we are near the rim but don’t box out or we don’t jump for the rebound. We are standing near the rim waiting for it to drop in our hands. We can’t do that.”

Beasley, who leads ACC freshmen in scoring (17.4) while averaging a team-best 5.8 rebounds, saw firsthand against Louisville how casually going up for a rebound without boxing out in the ACC can be costly. The Cardinals’ Damion Lee missed a 3-pointer but guard Donovan Mitchell – with an unimpeded path to the basket – soared over the top of Beasley, grabbed the rebound and dunked it over him.

The play was part of an 8-2 Louisville run that helped the Cardinals take control of the game.

Beasley said he has learned the hard way about paying attention to details.

“We are not having a technique problem boxing out, it is about knowing we have to do it and focusing on it,” the 6-5 guard said. “In high school it was easy to get rebounds. In the ACC everyone is athletic and can touch the backboard.”