Nov. 14, 2011
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It may have been a bit delayed but Monday night the new and improved Bernard James made his highly anticipated debut for the Florida State men’s basketball team.
After an ankle injury limited him to just one point in the Seminoles’ victorious season-opener last Friday, a healthy James’ career evening guided FSU to a 73-50 win over in-state foe UCF at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The ‘Noles played as a ranked team for the first time this season as they entered both national polls earlier in the day: No. 24 by in the ESPN/USA Today Poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press poll.
James, who spent the offseason working on developing his right hand and improving his free-throw shooting in anticipation of his second and final year in the garnet and gold, registered a career-best 18 points against the Knights (1-1) and added a career-high 11 rebounds.
And he wasn’t alone in filling up the box score.
FSU (2-0) benefitted offensively from three starters in double figures — including James — as Xavier Gibson added 12 points and seven rebounds and Michael Snaer bounced back after shooting just 1-for-7 in the first half to score 15 points.
For the second game in a row, Terrance Shannon came off the bench and showed the improvement in his game as well. Shannon contributed 10 points and transfer guard Jeff Peterson gave a glimpse at what his addition to the ‘Noles means with nine points.
While James and his teammates showed flashes of an offense that has the potential to be perhaps a bit more fluid and free moving than year’s past, the defense was of course the same that it always is in Tallahassee: dominant.
FSU held UCF to 30.5 percent shooting from the field and just 20 percent from 3-point range. The Knights didn’t do themselves any favors by hitting from the free throw line at a paltry 40-percent clip.
After finishing just plus-two in rebounding in the opening-game win against Jacksonville, the ‘Noles crashed the boards much better in their second outing of the young season. FSU finished the night with a rebound advantage of 42 to 28.
The score was knotted at 10-10 with 11:37 left to play in the first half before Peterson broke open the scoring with seven consecutive points. UCF would never get any closer as FSU took a 29-21 lead into halftime and opened it up further in the second frame.
Florida State returns to the hardwood on Wednesday night for a third consecutive game against an in-state opponent when it welcomes Stetson to town. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and it will air live online at ESPN3.com.