By JASON SCHNEIDER
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 28, 2002
TALLAHASSEE -- For the second straight game, Florida State jumped out to a big lead against an overmatched opponent and cruised to victory, this time 83-47 over Mercer on Wednesday.
The Seminoles took a 12-4 lead four minutes into the game and went on a 24-8 run in the first half.
"We are getting consistent with our principles," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I think they have bought into doing everything that they can possibly can, and we learned a little bit more about playing together on the offensive side."
Tim Pickett came out of the break on fire. He made three 3-pointers and assisted on Andrew Wilson's 15-foot jumper that capped the Seminoles' 16-4 run.
Mercer (1-1) closed the game with an offensive flurry, when Florida State (2-0) was running the floor with several different looks on offense and defense and trying different personnel.
"We're trying to not take any plays off," Hamilton said. "That takes a lot of energy. We are asking our guys to play at that high level of intensity we need to keep our guys fresh, which is why we played some different people, so it doesn't matter what we have on the floor and we can still be efficient."
The Seminoles shot 43 percent from beyond the arc and 57 percent from the floor, showing off their perimeter sharpshooters, an aspect Hamilton is happy to see emerging so early in the season.
"I do think we have a chance to be a good perimeter-shooting team, especially when we move the ball like we did in the second half," Hamilton said. "We had good ball reversal, we penetrated and pitched, found the open man and it gave our perimeter shooters an opportunity to get good looks."
JUCO transfer Nate Johnson led the way early for FSU, making two 3-pointers and adding two assists in the first 3:46.
"The coaches have been on us to keep pushing the game, to find our outlets and attack the defense," he said.
Sophomore Michael Joiner led all scorers with 17 points despite playing just 17 minutes, and Trevor Harvey had nine rebounds, two blocks and 10 points to help fuel FSU's fast break.
"Trevor has gotten much better with his defensive fundamentals," Hamilton said. "His stance is better, his stamina is improving. He's playing harder and just putting forth more effort."
Joiner, who played out of position at power forward for much of his freshman and sophomore seasons, is using his combination of size and shooting touch at small forward to lead FSU.
"I'm just maturing in the game of basketball," Joiner said. "The chemistry of the team is helping. We've got a great bunch of guys."
The Seminoles are 2-0 for the first since the 1997-98 season.