Leonard Hamilton finds flaws in an 83-46 victory against Fairleigh Dickinson.
By ZACHARY SPAIN
Published December 7, 2003
TALLAHASSEE - Florida State finished its 16-day, seven-game opening stretch undefeated with an 83-46 victory against Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.
But judging how well the Seminoles played depends on which coach you ask.
FDU coach Tom Green, who casts the Northeast Conference's ballot in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, said FSU (7-0) deserves Top 25 consideration.
"I will definitely be voting for Florida State, for sure," Green said.
FSU's Leonard Hamilton wasn't as pleased, particularly with the set offense.
"It's an unusual feeling to come away 7-0 and with a 30-point plus victory and feel that you still have not played at your very best," Hamilton said. "We've had a difficult time of creating a mind-set of playing as hard as you can and executing as well as you can.
"(Saturday) was one of those days where ... we made baskets probably because we were a little more talented. We had a difficult time putting it together, which concerns me at this stage of development of the year."
The Seminoles opened Saturday's game flat, and Farleigh Dickinson (2-3) made the most of it, hitting its first three 3-pointers to take a 9-5 lead.
But it didn't take long before the Seminoles, who have held opponents to fewer than 55 points per game, caught up. The Knights made only three more 3-pointers, finishing 6-for-30 from behind the arc. Their top scorer, Gordon Klaiber, scored just two points on 1-of-10 shooting.
"They tried to key on him for sure," Green said of Klaiber, who had been averaging 17.5 points. "It's a credit to Florida State and the defense they play. I don't think I've ever seen a team play quite as good man-to-man defense as what we saw from start to finish."
FSU used a 14-3 run to go up 19-11. After the Knights pulled to 22-18 with Brandon Edwards' 3-pointer and Andrea Crosariol's putback, FSU went on another run, this one 21-5, during the final 10 minutes of the half. Guard Tim Pickett capped it with a 30-foot buzzer-beater to make it 43-23.
By that point, it became a transition game as the Seminoles methodically extended its lead. FSU finished with 22 points off of 20 FDU turnovers, and 12 Seminoles scored. FSU shot 46.7 percent and 9-for-21 on 3-pointers, stats Hamilton said are misleading.
"We didn't get enough points from execution," he said. "We shot the ball well from 3-point range, which kind of bailed us out when maybe we didn't execute. And that kind of hides a lot of things."
Pickett scored a game-high 15, all on 3-pointers, and freshman guard Von Wafer 13, eclipsing his previous best of 12 against South Carolina State. Forward Adam Waleskowski had 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.
FSU is off until Dec. 14, when it plays its first road game against Miami, where Hamilton coached from 1990-2000. The Seminoles have games against Wagner, Chicago State and Pittsburgh and begin their ACC schedule with Maryland to close out the month.
"We won't have the luxury of saying we just have more talent," Hamilton said. "I think it's fair to say that Fairleigh Dickinson was a little bit outmanned. Those days will be few and far between for the rest of the season."