Florida State has a good opportunity to make its current stint in the Top 25 last at least one week longer than its first appearance this season.
The 22nd-ranked Seminoles, hoping their offense has finally come around, look to take advantage of a matchup with an opponent from a lower-tiered conference as they host Alabama A&M on Thursday.
After moving into the Top 25 at No. 21 the week of Nov. 30, Florida State (11-2) fell out in the next poll following a 77-64 loss to No. 15 Ohio State on Dec. 2.
The Seminoles have since won five straight, including a 66-59 victory over then-No. 22 Georgia Tech on Dec. 20, and are ranked again entering their final two tune-ups before the bulk of their ACC schedule begins. Their only game this week is their first matchup with the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Bulldogs (3-4), who have lost three of four.
Florida State then faces Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Monday night before continuing ACC play at Maryland on Jan. 10.
Playing for the first time in nine days, the Seminoles hope their offense has remained sharp after beating Tennessee-Martin 95-68 on Dec. 22. Florida State topped 90 points for the first time since a 95-55 victory over Maine on Dec. 8, 2007, and reached 80 for the second time in 10 games.
Defense is the Seminoles’ strength, but coach Leonard Hamilton liked the energy he saw from his offense and believes it still has room to grow.
“I feel that’ll give us the chance to reach the offensive potential we have,” Hamilton said.
Freshman Michael Snaer continues to play a larger role for Florida State. He’s coming off a season-best 18-point effort off the bench.
Snaer has reached double figures in scoring in five of six games after averaging 5.6 points in his first seven.
Snaer went 6 for 11 from the field and Florida State shot 54.4 percent (37 for 68) overall for its best performance since making 59.3 percent (32 for 54) in an 89-50 victory Nov. 21 over Mercer.
Defensively, the Seminoles were strong yet again, holding the Skyhawks to 36.8 percent (25 for 68) shooting to extend their home winning streak to 11 games. It was the ninth time Florida State has limited an opponent under 37 percent.
Florida State, allowing 58.9 points per contest, is led by 7-foot-1 Solomon Alabi. The sophomore has 16 blocks over his last four games and is averaging 2.2 in 49 starts.
Alabi is posting a team-high 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season, both career highs.
Most teams have a tough time matching up with Alabi, but Alabama A&M may find it especially difficult. The Bulldogs’ tallest regular contributor is 6-8 freshman Adam Young, who is averaging 4.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The only Alabama A&M player taller than Young is 6-10 Alfred Frayer, who has played 11 combined minutes in four games and has not scored.
The Bulldogs got 19 points from senior guard Cornelius Hester in his 19 minutes off the bench in an 80-77 loss to Tennessee State on Dec. 15.
Hester is Alabama A&M’s second-leading scorer, averaging 9.7 points. Sophomore swingman Casey Cantey leads the Bulldogs with 17.4 points per game, but was held to seven on 1-of-10 shooting against Tennessee State.
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