Providence cruises past struggling Florida State as Kris Dunn looks like a major factor

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Providence ramped up its defense and had a strong outing from redshirt sophomore point guard Kris Dunn as the Friars jumped out to a 9-0 lead and cruised to an 80-54 win over Florida State on Saturday in the second game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Dunn had a career-high 15 points and also added nine assists as the former McDonald’s All-American finally looked healthy and comfortable operating the Providence offense. Off of high ball screens, Dunn was nearly unstoppable, as he got into the paint whenever he wanted and made plays for himself or for others. Friar fans have been waiting two years to see this healthy version of Dunn and they’re finally seeing how good he can be at full strength.

On the defensive end of things, Providence packed the paint and the Seminoles couldn’t hit a perimeter jumper while also displaying incredibly sloppy passing and a general lack of focus on both ends of the floor.

“Florida State just seems to be sleepwalking through this game,” ESPN game commentator Doug Sherman said at one point during the first half.

The Seminoles (1-2) trailed 34-19 at halftime as they shot 27 percent from the field and only managed six first-half field goals. Florida State’s offense had no assists in the first half. This offensive performance wasn’t Kansas-against-Kentucky-level bad, but the Seminole offense also wasn’t facing a daunting front line like the Jayhawks were. This was just an embarrassing overall performance from a team that just didn’t really show up on Saturday.

The Friars, meanwhile, maintained steady pressure on Florida State throughout the game on Saturday and had a fair amount of balance on the offensive end of the floor. Senior forward LaDontae Henton had a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and freshman Jalen Lindsay added another 15 points for Providence (4-0).

Defense was also a positive for Providence as they held Florida State to 37 percent shooting from the floor and allowed only one made three-pointer in 11 attempts. Junior Aaron Thomas was the leading scorer for the Seminoles with 16 points while junior guard Montay Brandon chipped in with 13 points.

Providence will face Notre Dame on Sunday as the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off continues while Florida State will look to bounce back against UMass.