St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

'Noles apply lessons to coach's ex-team

Swarming defense helps FSU to 72-55 win in Leonard Hamilton's first game against Miami.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 9, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- It had been 12 years since Florida State and Miami met in basketball. Perhaps the Hurricanes should wait another decade or so before making a return trip after FSU dispatched them 72-55 Sunday.

The Seminoles frustrated the Hurricanes offense, swarming ballhandlers and shooters and forcing Miami to shoot 28.3 percent.

"They kept us from doing a lot of the things we wanted to do and not letting us run structured plays and making us make basketball plays, and because of that our recognition was not very good," Miami coach Perry Clark said.

Florida State went in looking to make a statement after losing by one to Florida on Friday. It did so by playing the type of game coach Leonard Hamilton has been pushing in his first season there.

"I'm pleased that we won this game by committee," Hamilton said. "We did a very good defensive job, we got everybody involved. Guys stepped up and did what we asked of them."

Nothing about FSU's game plan or style was surprising to Miami, as Hamilton spent 10 years as Hurricanes coach and is friends with Clark.

In fact, when Hamilton left Miami after the 1999-2000 season to coach Michael Jordan's Washington Wizards, he recommended Clark to Miami athletic director Paul Dee.

"I knew what was coming," Clark said. "We had talked to our team. It's just hard to simulate (their defense)."

FSU built a 12-3 lead five minutes in thanks to sloppy play by the Hurricanes. Miami turned the ball over six times in the first four minutes and 18 times overall.

"We had to have a tremendous defensive effort against Darius Rice and James Jones," Hamilton said. "If you give those guys good looks they are going to knock them down. Our guys really stepped up and gave a great effort to hold those guys down."

Rice and James, Miami's leading scorers, were a combined 7-of-29 from the floor, and Rice, 7-of-15 on 3-pointers going in, missed all eight attempts as Miami shot 5-of-23. Jones had 14 points and Rice 11, but no other Hurricane made more than two shots.

"We got our butts kicked," Clark said.

The Seminoles had turnover troubles as well, giving it up 21 times. The Seminoles turned Miami's turnovers into 21 points, and the Hurricanes got 17 from FSU's.

The Seminoles balanced their turnovers with 48.9 percent shooting, including 9 of 19 3-pointers.

"This was not a very pretty game," Hamilton said. "Miami created a lot of those turnovers."

Miami whittled FSU's early lead to seven but could not stop Tim Pickett, who scored all his 17 points in the first half. Pickett, who missed a winning 3 against Florida on Friday, was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the half as FSU shot 60 percent from long range.

Miami went into the half down 11 but quickly cut its deficit to six. The Seminoles answered with an 11-0 run, and Miami was never within 10 after that.

"We did not do a very good job handling their pressure," Clark said.

With Pickett shut down in the second half sophomore Anthony Richardson scored 10 on 3-of-3 shooting. Richardson made all five of his shots overall for 14 points.

"Anthony just went out and made plays that showed signs that he is really figuring out to use his athletic talents," Hamilton said.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.