Nov. 16, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has been anxious to get the season started.
And Monday night, Seminole fans saw why.
The 7-foot-1, Solomon Alabi’s career-high 17 points led a balanced Florida State offense as the Seminoles took advantage of its height and rolled to an 87-61 win over Jacksonville in the season opener for both teams.
Five Seminoles finished in double figures with highly recruited freshman Michael Snaer adding 14 in his collegiate debut.
“He allows the offense to come to him,” Hamilton said. “He shows a lot of maturity for a freshman.”
Florida State took control of the game with a 20-2 run midway through the opening half to take a 24-8 lead. By midway through the second half, the Seminoles increased their advantage to 55-24, and only the final score was in question.
“It was very difficult to get around those guys,” Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren said. “They will win a lot of games this year.
Senior guard Ben Smith led Jacksonville with 17 points. The Dolphins shot just 31.7 percent.
Alabi, who was 5 of 8 from the floor and 7 of 8 at the free throw line, grabbed eight rebounds. Ryan Reid, a 6-8 senior, added 13 points and eight rebounds.
With three starters returning from their best season in 16 years and first NCAA tournament bid in a decade, the Seminoles aim to improve on last year’s 25-10 record.
And unlike a year ago when they depended on senior guard Toney Douglas for scoring, Hamilton enjoyed a good balance against the Dolphins.
“Our go-to guy will be the open man,” Hamilton said.
Dulkys and Snaer combined for 25 points splitting time on the wing, while the Florida State frontline controlled the boards by a 42-26 margin.
“Our kids were very active,” Hamilton said. “We made a concerted effort.”
The Seminoles, who built their advantage to 32-12, scored just three points in the final 4:44 of the first half for a 35-18 lead at halftime.
Florida State hosts Stetson on Wednesday and Jacksonville is off until Nov. 24, when it plays at California.