After having his debut in a Florida State uniform pushed back a full season due the NCAA ruling him academically ineligible to compete, redshirt freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes was expected to be one of the headliners for the Seminoles in their season opener against Manhattan.
Unfortunately for Rathan-Mayes that wasn’t the case, as head coach Leonard Hamilton held him out of the 81-66 victory for an unspecified reason. According to Dustin Tackett of the Orlando Sentinel, following the game Hamilton did not elaborate on the reason why Rathan-Mayes, who was on the bench but not in uniform, didn’t play Saturday but the guard will be available Tuesday night when the Seminoles host Northeastern.
With Rathan-Mayes sidelined other underclassmen stepped forward for Florida State, which struggled early against the Jaspers but turned things around late in the first half. Two of the players providing that needed spark were freshmen Phil Cofer and Robbie Berwick, with Cofer finishing the game with four points and six rebounds and Berwick tallying 11 points himself.
In total six Florida State players scored between 11 and 14 points (Aaron Thomas led the way with 14), and as the game wore on the Seminoles’ length and athleticism slowed down a Manhattan offense that produced six first-half three pointers. Steve Masiello’s Jaspers finished the game shooting 28.6% from the field, and they made just 25 percent (7-for-28) of their two-point field goal attempts.
The game wasn’t the smoothest, with their being a combined 42 turnovers (21 apiece) and 80 free throw attempts, but Florida State used its size and athleticism to turn things around after a slow start. Rathan-Mayes will give Florida State another offensive weapon moving forward, and if Saturday’s win is any indication of what’s to come the Seminoles will once again be formidable defensively.