November 6, 2007

FSU wraps up exhibition season with 87-66 win

Florida State wrapped up the exhibition season on Tuesday night by defeating Valdosta State 87-66 thanks to five Seminoles scoring in double-digits.

Senior guard Isaiah Swann led all scorers with 21 points. The senior guard scored 14 of his points in the second half helping to distance the Seminoles from the Blazers. He also grabbed four rebounds, had one assist and one blocked shot.

"I tried to be as complete as possible," Swann said. "With the help of my teammates, they found me when I was open and I tried to knock the shots down. I am just glad we won."

While Swann's offensive output wasn't a surprise, who was second in scoring was a bit unexpected. Julian Vaughn scored 15 points in the game, pulled down six rebounds and blocked two shots. The freshman forward showed flashes of why he was once rated a five-star prospect by Rivals.com. He made four-of-five shots from the field and hit a team-high seven-of-nine shots from the free throw line.

Vaughn was easily the lone bright spot in the paint for the Seminoles on the evening.

"I thought Julian gave us a tremendous effort tonight," Hamilton said. "He showed us what he is capable of doing."

In the paint, the Seminoles were out-rebounded by one and allowed the Blazers to snatch 21 offensive rebounds. Hamilton was very upset with his team's effort on the glass.

"Obviously we got destroyed on the glass tonight. That will not get it done at any level that we are trying to play at this year," he said. "I think we are a much better rebounding team than we were tonight. That is one area where we need to improve in."

Hamilton wasn't the only one critical of the 'Noles' inability to secure rebounds.

"They killed us on the boards," Senior captain Isaiah Swann added. "We came out all gingerly and soft. We gave up 21 offensive rebounds. If you give up 21 offensive rebounds to a team like that what do you think a Duke or North Carolina is going to do to you. We have to be tough. We have to help out the bigs and get in there and help out.

"I don't want to be portrayed as a soft team. Last year after Maryland beat us they said in the paper that they knew we were soft and that they knew we would fold because we were soft. I don't like that and I don't think any of us like that, we are going to get that out of our mind, because we are not a soft team."

Two players that drew the bulk of the criticism for their effort in the paint on Tuesday were junior Uche Echefu, who scored 11 points and grabbed five boards, and Ryan Reid, who scored four points and grabbed one rebound.

"I just thought that Ryan and Uche gave us very little effort on the boards," Hamilton said. "They are the two most experienced (forwards) returning. The only thing I can say is that they have not been that bad in the past."

Junior point guard Toney Douglas chipped in 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Senior guard Jason Rich also contributed 10 points. As a team, the Seminoles only dished out 16 assists while turning it over 13 times.

"I was pleased with our perimeter guys as I thought they showed a lot of improvement and promise," Hamilton said. "I still think we can improve our assist to turnover ratio."

Overall, FSU shot 52.6 percent from the field while limiting the Blazers to just 36.0 percent. While the Seminoles shot well from the field, they hit just 6-of-25 (24%) from the perimeter.

"We are a very good perimeter shooting team but they are not always going to fall," Hamilton said. "I thought we had good looks. That is probably the strength of this team, our perimeter shooting, but we have to have a balanced attack. We didn't take the ball inside very much tonight."

The Seminoles also blocked six shots and earned six steals in its victory.

Florida State will play host to Nicholls State in its regular season opener Friday night at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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