PISCATAWAY, N.J (seminoles.com) — Florida State, which is 5-0 for the fifth time under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, travels to play at Rutgers in the 19th Annual Big/Ten Challenge at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J. on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU. Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against the Scarlet Knights with wins over George Washington (Nov. 14, 87-67), Fordham, (Nov. 17, 67-43), Colorado State (Nov. 19, 90-73), Kennesaw State (Nov. 22, 98-79) and The Citadel (Nov. 24, 113-78) and will play its first true road game of the season against Rutgers. With its victories over Fordham and Colorado State the Seminoles won the championship of the inaugural Jamaica Classic. The Seminoles are 5-0 for the first time since the start of the 2011-12 season when the Seminoles also won their first five games of the season. Florida State is playing in its 19th consecutive ACC/Big Ten Challenge against its ninth different opponent with Minnesota (six times) as its most common opponent. The Seminoles defeated the Gophers, 75-67, in Tallahassee in the 2016 challenge. Following Tuesday’s game against Rutgers, the Seminoles travel to Gainesville looking for their fourth consecutive win against No. 6 Florida.
FLORIDA STATE VS. RUTGERS – CONNECTIONS
Florida State will play its first true road game at Rutgers at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on November 28, 2017. The game between the Seminoles and the Scarlet Knights comes on the second night of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge. Florida State has a 1-0 all-time record against Rutgers with the only game in the series coming as an 87-77 win on December 22, 1967 in Tallahassee. Rutgers is coached by Steve Pikiell who has never coached against Florida State. As an assistant at Connecticut during the 1991-92 season, he helped the Huskies to a 2-0 record against Leonard Hamilton’s third team at Miami. Karl Hobbs, the associate head coach at Rutgers, totaled a 1-2 record against Florida State as the assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Connecticut from 1993-00. Brandin Knight, who is in his second season as an assistant at Rutgers, helped Pittsburgh to a 3-2 record against Florida State as a member of the Panther Program from 2008-2016. Ben Asher, the special assistant to the head coach at Rutgers, spent two seasons (2014 and 2015) as a graduate assistant under Mark Gottfried at NC State.
FLORIDA STATE’S LEADS BY THE NUMBERS
Florida State has won each of its first five games by an average of +23.0 points per game with each of its wins coming by at least 17 points. The Seminoles have led by at least 17 points in each of their first five games, held a season-high 41-point advantage against The Citadel (103-62, 6:19 second half) and have led each of their five games at half time by at least 12 points. The Seminoles’ largest first half lead of 19 points came against George Washington, Kennesaw State and The Citadel while its largest second half lead of 41 points came in its victory over The Citadel in Tallahassee. Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Rutgers averaging 91.0 points scored per game – the fourth highest scoring average in the ACC. The Seminoles’ +23.0 scoring margin is tied for the third highest in the ACC and ranks them as one of five teams in the league with a +21 points per game or higher scoring margin.
MANN AND M.J. WALKER NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM AT JAMAICA CLASSIC
Junior Terance Mann (17.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and freshman M.J. Walker (11.0 ppg, 1.5 spg) were both named to the Jamaica Classic All-Tournament team as the Seminoles took home the championship of the event with victories over Fordham (67-43, Nov. 17) and Colorado State (90-73, Nov. 19, 2017). For Mann and Walker, it marked the first time both players had been named to an all-tournament team during their collegiate careers.
SEMINOLES’ M.J. WALKER NAMED TO JERRY WEST AWARD WATCH LIST
Florida State freshman guard M.J. Walker, a consensus top-25 high school player in 2017, is on the 2018 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award watch list as named by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Walker is the 12th McDonald’s All-American in Florida State history. He is one of two true freshmen and one of five players from the ACC on the 2018 Jerry West Award watch list.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Rutgers and win its second consecutive game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Seminoles defeated Minnesota, 75-67, on November 28, 2016 in Tallahassee;
…Defeat Rutgers and improve to 6-0 for the first time since the start of the 2008-09 season when it won its first seven games of the season. The Seminoles advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament at the end of that season;
…Defeat Rutgers and win on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the first time since a 70-69 Seminole win at Minnesota on Nov. 30, 2004.