4 hit double figures as ‘Noles have easy 81-58 win in opener
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)—It was just the kind of opener coach Leonard Hamilton wanted.
Jason Rich scored 17 points and three Florida State teammates also reached doubled figures as the Seminoles opened the season with a 81-58 win over Nicholls (La.) State on Friday night.
“A great game for us,” Hamilton said. “We got an opportunity to play of lot of people and we didn’t have a letup in our effort.”
Florida State (1-0) blew open a relatively close game with a 29-9 run to start the second half that put the Seminoles ahead 71-44.
“We had a stretch where we were sound fundamentally,” Hamilton said. “But we are by no means a finished product. We’re not anywhere close and I don’t think most people are.”
Isaiah Swann was perfect on five 3-point shots in the first half to spark the Seminoles, who play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, to a 42-35 lead.
Swann, who was scoreless in the second half, finished with 15 points while Uche Echefu and Toney Douglas each had 10 for Florida State, which shot 54.2 percent in the game.
Julian Vaughn, who became the first freshman to start a season opener at Florida State for Hamilton, added eight points.
The win came a day after Florida State extended Hamilton’s contract by two years. Hamilton, who is beginning his sixth year at the school, is now under contract through the 2011-2012 season.
Ryan Bathie led Nicholls State (0-1) of the Southland Conference with 14 points and Adonis Gray added 11. The Colonels, who were 8-22 a year ago, shot 44.4 percent.
“They stuck with their game plan, but we played a lot better defense in the second half,” Hamilton said.
The Seminoles forced 27 turnovers and Ralph Mims and Douglas each had five steals, but were beaten on the boards by the visitors.
Bathie’s game-high seven rebounds helped Nicholls State to a 29-26 rebound advantage.
And that troubled Hamilton, who is counting on the 6-10 Vaughn to help pick up some of the slack left by the departure of Al Thornton, a first-team All-ACC pick from a year ago who is now playing with the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA.
“That’s an area we’ve got to improve,” Hamilton said.