Oct. 31, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Junior Uche Echefu scored a team-high 16 points to lead four Seminoles in double-figure scoring as the Florida State men's basketball team opened its two-game exhibition season with a 79-58 victory over West Florida at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles shot 50 percent for the game, earned 11 steals and lead by as many as 34 in the second half as they gained the victory over the Argonauts.
In addition to Echefu's 16 points and five rebounds, guards Toney Douglas (11 points and four assists), Jason Rich (11 points and two steals) and Isaiah Swann (10 points and five rebounds) combined for 32 points on seven of 16 shooting from 3-point range. Junior Casaan Breeden scored nine points and freshman Julian Vaughn also scored nine and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in his first game as a Seminole.
"I thought that we had our moments where we accomplished some things," said Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. "There were times in the first half where I thought that we were very efficient with our ball movement and we were finding people on the weak-side. I never thought we established an inside game. That is an area where we have obviously been concentrating on and we have to get a little better at that. Second half I didn't think we were as efficient. We were trying to make plays and not allowing our offense to flow and work for us but those are things I think we can correct."
West Florida was led by Max Hoggard (16 points in 11 minutes) and Charles Bouie (13 points and eight rebounds). The visiting Argonauts were limited to 37.5 percent shooting from the field and were outrebounded 40-29 by the bigger, stronger Seminoles.
Florida State broke the game open with a 32-11 run in the final 10 minutes of the first to take a 50-24 lead at the intermission. The Seminoles stretched their lead as they made seven 3-point shots in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Swann led the way with three from long range; he was complimented by three from beyond the arc by Douglas and one by forward Matt Zitani. Zitani finished the game with three points and six rebounds in 10 minutes of playing time.
Florida State made 10 more field goals and two more 3-point shots than West Florida. In shooting well from the field, the Seminoles shot 56 percent overall from the field and 47 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Senior Ralph Mims had three steals to lead the Seminoles who finished the game with 11 steals.
"I like this team and I like our chances," said Hamilton. "I think that we have some pieces that will make us a much better basketball team. I like the way Isaiah is shooting the ball. I think Jason is a little more comfortable out there and he asserted himself. I think Toney is a little more comfortable running the point. I thought Ralph gave us some good moments. Ryan has had excellent practices and I thought he was a little anxious tonight, we will smooth that out. Uche stepped up for us tonight. I was glad to see Casaan come out and get up and down the floor a little bit. Overall we are probably about where we thought we would be at this time and we realize we have a little ways to go."
The Seminoles play host to Valdosta State in their second exhibition game Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. before opening their regular season against Nicholls State on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.