Dec. 1, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State plays host to Iowa in the fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. The Seminoles, who are 2-0 for the first time since the beginning of the 1997-98 season, are looking to improve to 3-0 for the first time since that 1997-98 season when they finished with an 18-12 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Florida State enters Monday night’s game looking to win its second ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. The Seminoles defeated Northwestern, 60-46, Dec. 1, 1999 in the inaugural challenge. The ACC has won the Commissioners Cup in each of the three previous ACC/Big Ten Challenges. Following Monday night’s game against Iowa, the Seminoles play host to Florida (Dec. 6) and Miami (Dec. 8) as they continue their school record eight-game homestand which began Nov. 24 against Savannah State (79-46 Seminole win) and concludes Dec. 22 against North Carolina.
“Leonard is proven. He’s proven he can take a program and build a program from its nadir and bring it to some kind of pinnacle, which he did at Miami. He’s got the contacts and is capable of getting players from within the state of Florida, a state that’s rich with tremendous athletes. And he’s well liked.”
DEFENSE IN THE HAMILTON TRADITION
Florida State has won its first two games under Leonard Hamilton and has done so by playing suffocating defense. The Seminoles have allowed a total of 93 points (46.5 points per game), have held their opponents to 28.7 percent shooting from the field, forced 55 total turnovers (27.5 per game), been credited with 31 steals (15.5 per game) and blocked 20 shots (10.0 per game). Both of Florida State’s early season opponents have shot below 30 percent (Savannah State 29.8 and Mercer, 27.6). In addition, the Seminoles are averaging 45.0 rebounds per game and are outrebounding their opponents by 8.5 rebounds a game.
EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE
Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton’s teams have always been known for their pressure and overall intensity on defense. His first Seminole team is proving to be very similar. Florida State has held its first two opponents to an average of 57.5 shots per game (while averaging 68 shots per game) while allowing them to make an average of 16.5 field goals per game.
Seminoles’ Concentrating On Defense
Season Opp FG% Blocks/Game Steals/Game TO Forced
2002-03 .287 % 10.0 15.0 18.3
2001-02 .441 % 3.5 7.6 14.7
Improvement -15.4 % +6.5 +7.4 +3.6
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Look for Florida State to improve to 3-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Seminoles won their first four games that season;
…Win its game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the first time since the 1999 season. The Seminoles defeated Northwestern (60-46, 1999) before falling to Minnesota (76-71, 2000) and Northwestern (57-50, 2001) for a 1-2 record in the Challenge;
……Defeat a team from the Big Ten for the first time since Dec. 1, 1999 when the Seminoles defeated Northwestern, 60-46. Florida State was 0-1 against teams from the Big Ten last season when it fell to Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
EARNING CAREER-HIGH STATISTICS
A total of seven returning Seminoles have either established new or tied existing career-high statistics during the first two games of the season. Senior center Tervor Harvey, who has established two new career highs and tied six existing personal career-highs, leads the Seminole parade with nine new statistics. Sophomore forward Andrew Wilson, who missed all but seven minutes of the 2001-02 season is second with seven changes to his personal record book.
The New Career-High List
Player 02-03 New Career Highs Categories
Trevor Harvey 8 FTA, OR; tied P, FTM, FG%; DR, R, S
Andrew Wilson 7 A, M; tied P, FGA, 3FGA, OR, B
Marcell Haywood 5 P, FGM; tied FGA, FG%, FTA
Adam Waleskowski 4 OR, R; tied A, B
Michael Joiner 3 FG%, 3 FG%, S
Anthony Richardson 3 FG%; tied OR, B
Mike Mathews 2 Tied FT%, A
FLORIDA STATE ON THE SCOREBOARD
Florida State has not trailed on the scoreboard during either of its first two games this season. The Seminoles, on baskets by junior All-ACC candidate Michael Joiner in both games, have broken out to quick and early leads in both of the first two games of the season. Joiner hit the first basket of the season, a 3-pointer, to help the Seminoles over Savannah State and then opened the Mercer game with a dunk off a Nate Johnson assist.
MORE ON THE DEFENSIVE END OF THE COURT
Florida State has allowed a total of 93 points (46.5 points per game) in its first two games of the 2002-03 season. It is the best two-game defensive effort by the Seminoles (in terms of fewest points allowed) since the 1949-50 season – the third season in school history. The Seminoles allowed 92 points over a two game span against Howard (50-39 Seminole victory) and David Lipscomb (57-53 Seminole victory) on Feb. 4 and Feb. 10, 1950. In addition, the Seminoles’ defensive prowess has held two consecutive opponents under 100 total points for the second time in two seasons. Last season, Florida State held Virginia Tech (49 points) and Campbell (47 points) to 96 total points on Dec. 27 and Dec. 29, 2001. Those games were the first two of a four-game winning streak culminated by a 77-76 victory over No. 1 ranked and previously undefeated Duke Jan. 6, 2002.
JOHNSON LIMITING HIS TURNOVERS
Florida State’s starting point guard Nate Johnson enters Monday night’s game against Iowa with only four turnovers in his first 50 minutes of Division I basketball. He was charged with four turnovers in the first half of his first game against Savannah State and has not committed a turnover since. He has a streak of 36 minutes without committing a turnover as the Seminoles’ game against Iowa tips-off Monday. In his first four outings as a Seminole (two exhibition and two regular season games), Johnson has 19 assists and only five turnovers in 111 minutes of playing time.
Johnson Holding Onto The Basketball
Opponent Minutes Assist Turnovers A:TO Ratio
Savannah State 24 4 4 1:1
Mercer 26 5 0 5:0
Totals 50 9 4 2.3:1
JOHNSON STREAKING WITH HIS SHOT
Florida State’s starting point guard Nate Johnson also began his career well shooting the ball from the field. Johnson made the first four shots of his career (two against Savannah State and two against Mercer) from the field before missing from the field in the first half of the Seminoles’ victory over Mercer.
WALESKOWSKI TURNING UP THE HEAT ON THE DEFENSIVE END OF THE COURT
Sophomore Adam Waleskowski, who has played in 30 consecutive games as a Seminole, has turned up his defensive effort during the first two games of the 2002-03 season. He established a new career-high with eight rebounds in Florida State’s season opening victory over Savannah State and blocked a career-high two shots in the Seminoles victory over Mercer.