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NoleGameday

Florida State Wallops Chattanooga: 3 Game-Changing Plays

That was MUCH easier than last time.

Florida State toyed with the Mocs for the first few minutes of the game, leading just 13-12 at the Under-16 timeout. The ‘Noles would then outscore Chattanooga 76-41 the rest of the way, creating an 89-53 victory for FSU.

This was a domination for Coach Hamilton and company; the bench unit came in and finally looked like the bench units we’re used to seeing. Even with MJ Walker and RaiQuan Gray not playing, this was the best game of the season so far. Great looks were consistently being generated and made, the discipline was the best it had been all season, and the defense was flying around the court, contesting many shots the Mocs put up.

This game was great to see, but first some (a lot of) box score notes.

Teddy Valentine was officiating, and Florida State has been foul happy to start the season, but FSU finished with just 7 fouls. As a team. FOR THE WHOLE GAME, HELLO!! That’s unbelievable; I had to quadruple check the box score to make sure I was reading it right. These days in college basketball, you rarely see a half without 7 fouls called, but an entire game??? Unheard of.

FIVE, count ’em, FIVE players finished in double figures for the ‘Noles, and only one (maybe two) is who you’d expect.

Devin Vassell led the way with 17 points and 8 rebounds on just ten shots. He seriously cannot be left open because he will make it almost every time. Someone texted me that we need to find a way to delete his film so he can’t be found by the NBA, but it might already be too late.

Patrick Williams was right on Vassell’s heels, finishing with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. It felt like he had a lot more than 16 points, but it’s because all of his points are big motivator plays: dunks, alley-oops, and 3-pointers. He’s still perfect from the free throw line on the season (now 11/11), and shot 60% from the floor tonight. He’s looking every bit of a 5-star.

Both true centers, Dominik Olejniczak and Balsa Koprivica, finished with 10 points each, and showed some phenomenal touch around the basket, Koprivica especially. I’ve wanted Koprivica to show more passion and energy, and he absolutely brought it tonight, following two monster jams with yells and screams, something players like Malik Osborne have brought all season. It motivates the team and gets everyone going. Olejniczak played without the wrap on his calf for the first time this season, and he was great as well, showing off his arsenal of post hooks and alley-oop finishes. I’m really looking forward to more of him in games, because he’s clearly the best screen setter on the team, and opens up the basket for lobs.

Malik Osborne was the final player in double figures, also finishing with 10 points. He scored the first 7 of the game, showing off two face-up jumpers that helped FSU as they plowed along in the first few minutes. He also hit a three this game, and if he can start making those consistently, this offense becomes infinitely harder to stop. They utilized him more on slips throughout the game, and it paid off a few times.

As a team, FSU was lethal from everywhere on the floor, going 34-65 (52.3%) on field goals, 10-25 (40%) from 3, but just 11/17 (64.7%) from the charity stripe. The shooting percentages really showed what FSU could be throughout the season, and the free-throw performance is an anomaly at this point in the season, the ‘Noles have been excellent otherwise.

Chattanooga, a 37% shooting team from behind the arc, shot 5-24 (20.8%!!!) from distance tonight. FSU was flying around everywhere contesting shots, but the Mocs were content living from downtown. The Seminoles vastly improved their defensive rotations, something I said they were going to have to do to have success.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Situation: 13:51 remaining in first half, Chattanooga is inbounding after a made Florida State shot

I was a huge fan of RayQuan Evans when he committed to Florida State, so to see him not receive the playing time I was expecting was a little upsetting honestly. He’s the perfect substitute for Trent Forrest, and he finally showed why on this play.

He rips the Chattanooga player of the ball and then delivers a beautiful bounce pass to Patrick Williams, who thunders this dunk home. This play was the first true basket that sparked a 13-1 run until the next media timeout, and really set the standard for the way FSU’s bench would play throughout the game.

Play 2

Situation: 11:04 remaining in the first half, Florida State is in the half court offense

This is the best ball movement of the season, and it’s beautiful and a tear formed in my Basketball-Nerd eye.

Patrick Williams drives left, then throws a beautiful left-handed pass to Vassell, who instantly swings it to Nate Jack, who swings it to RayQuan Evans, who pump fakes, drives, and passes it to a wide open Patrick Williams, who has relocated to the left corner.

This is the definition of passing up a good shot for a great shot. Even the Spurs would be proud.

As far as the course of the game went, this had little impact, but please go back and watch this play for yourself. I mean it is an absolute beauty.

Play 3

Situation: 18:10 remaining in the second half, Malik Osborne has the ball in the paint

Chattanooga had cut the lead down to 10, but this play firmly ended any comeback hopes, and Florida State would take off in the second half.

Osborne had slipped off the screen, meaning he abandoned the screen before setting it, which left his defender in the dust. Vassell’s defender comes off to help, but this left the elite shooter than is Devin Vassell open, and Osborne made an incredible read by knowing where the help was coming from, and hitting the open man. Plays like these are winning plays.

Florida State will take on St. Francis (PA) next, Saturday at 2pm. Come back to NoleGameday to read our preview of what to expect.


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