Leonard Hamilton and Perry Clark have plenty of common. Both are former coaches at Miami and both have suffered recent first-round NCAA losses to Wisconsin at their current schools.
The coaches will meet for the second straight season Monday night when Hamilton and No. 18 Florida State host Clark and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with the Seminoles looking for a seventh straight win.
Hamilton coached at Miami from 1990-2000, and Clark succeeded him from 2000-04. The coaches were credited to rebuilding the Hurricanes, who had one NCAA appearance prior to Hamilton’s arrival. Miami reached the NCAAs three times under Hamilton and once under Clark.
The coaches are looking for similar success at their current stops, with Clark leading Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (5-7) to the NCAAs in his first season at the school two years ago before a loss to Wisconsin. Hamilton is in his eighth season with Florida State (12-1), which lost to the Badgers last year in its first NCAA appearance in 11 years.
Florida State won last season’s meeting, 69-48, limiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to 34.5 percent shooting and forcing 21 turnovers.
That’s the kind of defense the Seminoles played in their last game, an 81-34 victory over Alabama A&M on Thursday. Every Florida State opponent during this win streak has shot below 37 percent, and the Bulldogs shot 25.9 percent.
Deividas Dulkas led Florida State with 19 points but forward Chris Singleton missed five of six shots for seven points and committed seven of the Seminoles’ 20 turnovers.
“Twenty turnovers is way too much,” Hamilton said. “I thought we were a little nonchalant with the ball several times.”
Florida State also got a boost from sophomore reserve forward Xavier Gibson, who scored a career-high 17 points. The Seminoles outscored the Bulldogs 42-10 in the second half.
“We were a little tentative in the first half, defensively and offensively,” Hamilton said. “Once we called time out and readjusted, I think our guys stayed pretty focused.”
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is facing a ranked team for the second time in three days after turning in a solid effort Saturday in a 76-70 loss at No. 2 Texas. The unbeaten Longhorns won each of their first 12 games by at least 11 points.
“This game shows that we have a lot of potential, not just from game-to-game but in our conference as well,” forward Justin Reynolds said. “We can be great.”
Kevin Palmer scored 28 points and Demond Watt added 10 and 13 rebounds for the Islanders, who fell to 0-6 on the road.
“I thought our team executed the things that we wanted to do,” Clark said. “Keep the ball out of the middle, tried to not allow them second chance shots, and we tried to keep them out of transition.”
Palmer scored a game-high 21 points in last season’s trip to Florida State.