After grinding and slogging their way through games against two of the nation's top defenses, the Florida State Seminoles made no effort to hide that they were looking forward to getting into a fast-paced, offensively-minded game against the Maryland Terrapins.
For good reason, apparently.
Graced with ample room to set up their offense and take open shots, the Seminoles (11-4, 2-1 ACC) crushed Maryland under a barrage of 3-pointers, seven from senior Ian Miller, in an 85-61 win in front of 7,516 at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee.
FSU shot 16 of 24 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range and set a new school record for 3-pointers made in an ACC game. The Seminoles entered the game having scored 58 from beyond the arc all season.
“Obviously, we'd love to shoot that way every night, but that's probably not going to happen,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I'm pleased if we can move the ball, make the extra pass and then get high-percentage shots, then we can live, pretty much, with what happens from there.”
Miller, who continues to spark the Seminoles off the bench, scored 20 and has at least 15 points in three of his last four games. He finished 7 of 12 from 3-point range.
Senior Okaro White added 15 points and eight rebounds and Aaron Thomas had 14 for FSU, which had six players make at least one 3-pointer.
“Tonight was one of those nights when I feel like they left me too open,” Miller said. “I practice those shots contested or non-contested. My teammates just did a great job of getting me the ball in good spots and I stuck my hand up and followed through and they were all money.”
Sophomore Devon Bookert scored 12 points for FSU, nine of them from the 3-point line.
The Seminoles jumped out to a quick 10-2 advantage, but that lead had been whittled to 20-17 after a pair of Dez Wells free throws at the 7:29 mark of the first half.
And then FSU's offense swiftly and completely took over.
After made a layup that pushed the lead to five, the Seminoles then struck for six consecutive 3-pointers – three from Miller, one from White and another from Thomas – that turned a close game into a blowout in a matter of minutes.
Those 3s sparked FSU a 22-5 run and a 42-22 halftime lead.
“I think any coach in our league would tell you that you want FSU shooting jump shots over your hand,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who has personally lost six straight to FSU dating back to the 2004 National Invitation Tournament. “And they made them tonight."
Meanwhile, FSU made life difficult for Maryland (10-7, 2-2 ACC) on defense by forcing the Terrapins into a difficult shots and denying open lanes to the basket.
Maryland made only 6 of 21 (28.6 percent) shots in the first half and finished the game just 17 of 51 (33.3 percent) from the floor. It's the third time in as many ACC games that FSU has limited an opponent to a shooting percentage in the 30s.
“We just played Coach Ham's defense,” Miller said. “They got a couple lay-ups but we tried not to give them any driving lanes. We executed tonight.”
Ian Miller said Maryland left him "too open" on Sunday night.
FSU will be in for another slow affair when they take the court Wednesday at Miami (9-6, 1-2 ACC). The Seminoles play four of their next five games on the road, a stretch that includes tilts at Virginia (which beat FSU, 62-50, last week), Duke and North Carolina State wrapped around a home date against Notre Dame on Jan. 21.
White officially joins basketball team
Leonard Hamilton confirmed after Sunday's game that Marquez White, a freshman defensive back on the Florida State football team, has joined the basketball team.
The Osceola reported Friday that White, who played basketball at Northview High in Dothan, Ala., would become FSU's latest two-sport athlete.
“We're going to give him an opportunity to come out and play,” Hamilton said. “I don't know where it's going or where it's going to lead, but he's extremely quick and athletic … we think the world of him.”
Hamilton said White's level of contribution would depend on how quickly he grasped the team's concepts, but that he expects him to at least be a big help in practice regardless.
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