FSU Handles Saint Louis in Orange Bowl Classic, 81-59

Ruben Hill
December 24, 2018

From Mfiondu Kabengele's no-look off-the-glass basket to Terance Mann's double dunk in the final seconds, Florida State shot at a high rate.

David Nichols had a killer game off the bench and led all scorers with 19 points in 25 minutes on 7 of 11 shooting (4 of 7 from three-point land).

The Seminoles (11-1) won their sixth game in a row and matched the best 12-game start in school history.

"The guys are playing their last game before they go home for Christmas, they're going through finals and they're looking forward to a break".

Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton was pleased with the effort, especially ahead of a week-and-a-half-long hiatus with FSU's next game on January 1.

"I just want to stay in my lane and do the best I can with what we have", he said. "We have potential. We're still not a well-oiled machine yet".

Kabengele had the play of the game when he scored on a twisting drive that ended with a one-handed flip off the backboard.

"That was for the fans", Nichols said. "He got everybody excited". He also shot 4-of-7 from the 3-point line.

Part of why Florida State has not been blasting teams the way many might expect is its 32.3-percent 3-point shooting, which ranks 240th among Division I teams. "But I was beginning to wonder". "Sometimes, their minds can kind of wander", Hamilton said.

Nichols, an Albany transfer, sent the Seminoles up, 40-25, at halftime with a 3-pointer at the first half's buzzer. Jordan Goodwin contributed 16 points, six steals, five assists and three rebounds.

The Billikens have lost three games this season by a combined 11 points, two on the road and another in a neutral setting.

"They keep running guys at you", Ford said. "This is the first team that's actually handled us". "I feel we were a little tentative". "I haven't said that for 11 other games".

Previous year the Seminoles were unbeaten until they lost in the Orange Bowl Classic to Oklahoma State on a tip-in with six seconds left. Of course, that wasn't a total stunner to FSU's coaches, as they haven't felt good about that situation for quite some time.

The Noles shot 55.4-percent from the floor and 55.6-percent from beyond the arc, both season-high numbers By making 81.8 percent of its free throws, FSU has shot at least 80-percent from the line five times this season. His injury isn't believed to be serious, Hamilton said. Florida State has been a solid overall team to begin the season, but it still does not have the services of the injured Phil Cofer, who led the team in scoring a season ago when the Seminoles made the Elite Eight.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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