Seminoles dominate Colonels

Coach Leonard Hamilton runs down a play to his players during a timeout Sunday against Nicholls State. photos by Don Juan Moore-@DJuanfotos

Coach Leonard Hamilton runs down a play to his players during a timeout Sunday against Nicholls State.
photos by Don Juan Moore-@DJuanfotos





[subtitle]Hamilton recognized for milestone wins[/subtitle]

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Minutes before the start of Sunday’s season-opener, Coach Leonard Hamilton was presented with an award for becoming the all-time winningest coach at Florida State.

It seemed kind of strange because the expectation was that the Seminoles would need to beat Nicholls State for Hamilton to reach the benchmark. However, as it turned out, a recalculation of Hamilton’s wins over 14 seasons, he’s already achieved the milestone last season with a win over Pittsburgh.

But not a soul among the 6,094 fans at the Civic Center seemed to mind. A group of freshmen, led by Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, put on quite a show to lead FSU to a 109-62 victory.

It didn’t take long for the newcomers to become the story line in a game that the Seminoles dominated from the outset.

Bacon had nine of FSU’s first 22 points before halftime and Beasley had just as great a start with 7 points midway through the half.

Bacon’s tally at the end of the night was 23 points, and Beasley scored 21. Devon Bookert and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each scored 22 points for the Seminoles.
T.J. Carpenter was the only double-digit scorer for the Colonels, with 10.

Hamilton called Beasley one of few freshmen he’s met with as much talent in his 14 seasons at FSU.

“We haven’t had a freshman come in that had the intensity, the focus and the mindset to go out and pick up the ball and defend it as well as he does,” Hamilton said.
Bacon was an obvious favorite with the crowd, but Hamilton said he is a work in progress.

“I think he made a good effort of doing that (contributing) tonight,” Hamilton said.

The win over the Colonels was the 13th for the Seminoles in the last 14 home openers. It also was the fifth consecutive time that the Seminoles started their season at home.
It has been several years since freshmen dominated like the two starters.

“I think they all did a great job tonight,” said sophomore Rathan-Mayes. “They took what the defense gave them and made their shots. They played very, very well.”
In fact, the entire team did. The Seminoles set a break-neck pace that they sustained regardless who was on the floor. They were up 60-32 at intermission, scoring 53 points or more in a half for the first time since last season when the Seminoles beat Virginia.

They pushed the century mark on an old-fashioned three-point play by Beasley to make it 99-57 with under five minutes to play.

The Seminoles dominated on the board as well as the floor, taking down 42 rebounds to 21 for the Colonels. They connected on 40 of 61 attempts from the field for 65.5 percent shooting.

“It’s tough to defend that,” said Colonels coach P.J. Piper.

“We knew what they were going to do,” he said. “They are a very talented team and we couldn’t seem to make them miss. I didn’t anticipate they would shoot the ball as well as they did.”

The transition game also was a strain for Nicholls State.

“We were sprinting guys back,” Piper said, “but they were beating us down the floor and the ball is at the rim before we can competitively defend it.”