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Veterans hope to give FSU a boost

With a roster that featured so many players long on talent but short on experience, the plan for the Florida State men's basketball team was simple – have the team's core of veterans carry the load while the freshmen learned the ropes.

“Our production as a group has to pick up because we have to set the tone for the younger guys to feed off of,” junior guard Ian Miller said.

Sometimes, like in FSU's two wins in last month's Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, the plan worked well.

But more often, as has been the case in FSU's current two-game losing streak, the veteran group of Michael Snaer, Ian Miller, Okaro White and Terrance Shannon haven't provided enough.

And with No. 5 Florida set to visit the Donald L. Tucker Center tonight (7 p.m., ESPNU), they know that has to change.

“Our production as a group has to pick up because we have to set the tone for the younger guys to feed off of,” junior guard Ian Miller said. “And as long as we keep playing the way we're playing, they're going to keep playing the way they're playing.”

In a 61-56 loss to Mercer on Sunday, Snaer and Miller – thought to be FSU's two best scorers – combined for just 12 points. White added 14 but also spent significant time on the bench thanks to foul trouble and eventually fouled out.

The team was beset by similar troubles in a 77-68 loss to Minnesota last week, when Snaer had 12 points but Miller only contributed two and finished 1-of-7 from the floor.

White said that the veterans need to set the example not only by scoring but also by doing all of the things necessary for a team to win.

“It all starts with us, and that doesn't just go by scoring all the points coming from the main core guys,” he said. “It comes by doing all the rebounding, blocking, playing defense and enthusiasm.”

The Seminoles will need all of those to contend with a Gators team that has built its 6-0 record with an average margin of victory of 25.3 points.

Florida as a team shoots 47 percent from the field, including 36 percent from 3-point range, and has four players who average scoring in double figures.

Senior guard Kenny Boynton leads the way with 14.5 points per game and 88-percent mark from the free-throw line.

"This is a veteran team that seems to have a clear understanding of how they need to play,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They play to each other very well. They create for each other. They seem to make very few mistakes. They don’t really get rattled. They are playing about as well as any team that I’ve seen this year.”

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