TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State is lacking some experience but the players that coach Leonard Hamilton will be counting on early came through in its opener.
Terence Mann scored 17 points and Phil Cofer added 15 as the Seminoles defeated George Washington 87-67 on Tuesday night.
“It’s always good to get your first victory under your belt,” Hamilton said. “I thought our guys were locked in. I saw a lot of things that I liked. Our more experienced players gave us leadership.”
Mann, a 6-foot-6 junior guard who is the lone returning starter from a squad that reached the NCAA Tournament last season, was 8 of 10 from the field also had eight rebounds, including six coming on the offensive end. Cofer, a 6-8 senior forward, hit four of his first five shots and was 6 of 9 as Florida State won its fifth straight season opener and extended its home winning streak to 22.
“That was fun. We got out and ran. We did what we were supposed to do to get the win,” Mann said.
The Seminoles were able to take advantage of their size as they shot 38 of 68 from the field and a 52-20 advantage in points in the paint. Christ Koumadje, a 7-4 junior center, had 14 points and seven rebounds in his first start.
Florida State led by 20 (52-32) early in the second half on a pair of Cofer free throws before the Colonials went on a 13-3 run to get within 55-45. George Washington would get within 10 again (66-56) on a Yuta Watanabe 3-pointer with 9:37 remaining before the Seminoles scored nine straight points.
Terry Nolan Jr. and Jair Bolden scored 18 apiece for the Colonials (1-1) and Watanabe added 14 points and eight rebounds.
George Washington was 24 of 63 from the field and struggled beyond the arc, going 7 of 26. It also committed 19 turnovers as Florida State forced eight steals.
“It was a little bit of us shooting ourselves in the foot but their pressure can take you out. We have to look at film and do a better job handling pressure,” coach Maurice Joseph said.
George Washington: The Colonials have nine newcomers, including four freshmen. They don’t have much of a bench rotation at the moment as three players saw 30-plus minutes.
Florida State: The Seminoles had one of the deepest benches in Division I last season, and that appears to be the case again. Hamilton used 12 players with eight seeing action for 13 minutes or more. FSU’s bench had a 32-5 advantage.
NOT A LOT OF CHARITY
Florida State led the Atlantic Coast Conference in free throw attempts last season, but it didn’t get to the line much in the opener.
The Seminoles didn’t attempt their first free throw until 22 seconds in the first half and were 3 of 4. Hamilton said they need to do a better jo of moving the ball more consistently inside.
George Washington returns home on Saturday to face Hampton, who has split its first two games.
Florida State will play a pair of games in the Jamaica Classic in Montego Bay. The first one is on Friday against Fordham.
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