Florida State held off St. Leo 65-56 in its final preseason exhibition before opening the regular season at home this Friday against South Alabama at 7 p.m.
Much like Lincoln Memorial, a veteran and proven SLU team wasn’t having any part in laying down for the 2012 ACC Champions. The Lions fought and clawed their way back multiple times, most of the time using the three-ball to pull within single digits of FSU’s lead.
SLU racked up 30 points on 10 made shots from downtown.
After the game, FSU Head Coach Leonard Hamilton credited SLU for being an experienced team that was able to move the ball extremely well.
“That was a good test for us,” Hamilton said. “If you remember, last year we played a few small teams that really executed and moved the ball – Princeton, Harvard, Virginia Tech, Virginia – all kind of used that system.”
Much like last week’s exhibition against LMU, junior forward Okaro White continued to shine. White led all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also led the way on the boards with 10 of his own.
FSU out-rebounded SLU, 20-15.
Turnovers were a bit of an issue for FSU on the evening, as the Seminoles gave 20 gifts to the Lions, from which they created 16 valuable points. Point guard Ian Miller accounted for the most turnovers, racking up a total of six.
“I didn’t think we moved the ball,” Hamilton said. “That’s just a bunch of guys trying to make plays and getting a little aggressive before we get our offensive system in.
“We are an inexperienced team – I think that showed with the turnovers tonight.”
Freshman point guard Devon Bookert was sidelined again with his injury, but Hamilton said after the game that he is progressing and healing nicely. However, Hamilton was not willing to pencil in Bookert to the lineup for Friday night’s home opener.
When it was all said and done, Hamilton said he’s pleased with where this team stands heading into the season.
“I think we have a ways to go, but I think we made some improvements this week,” he said. “Now, we play for real on Friday.
“Maybe we’re not quite [ready to defend the ACC title], but I’m still confident that by the time we get to conference play, we’ll be defending our crown.”
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