Another game against an overmatched opponent, another win. Is this what it feels like to be a blue-blood college basketball program? If so, I could get used to this. The Noles (10-1) defeated North Florida (5-8) 95-81 Wednesday night at the Tucker Center. While UNF’s JT Escobar led in points with 27, the balanced attack of the Seminole offense eventually figured out how to put the ball into the net and cruised to an easy victory. Let’s talk about some of the performances, but there are some big-picture things I’d like to mention as well.
The aforementioned JT Escobar scored 27 on 8-9 shooting, including 6-6(!!!) from deep. As a team, UNF was 40% from 3, mostly due to Escobar’s efforts. Horchler and Day added 10 apiece. On the Seminole side, Mfiondu Kabengele had himself a night, scoring 24 points and securing 7 rebounds. He was particularly deadly from the charity stripe, going 10-10 on free throws. This is a good sign – he was getting to the hoop and getting UNF to commit fouls. I hope to see more of this from Fi. Added to Kabengele’s numbers, Mann scored 17, Savoy scored 11 on 5-11 shooting (1-5 from 3), and Koumadje and Forrest both added 10. Forrest also had 7 assists and no turnovers. That’s right. No turnovers.
So a couple of things – one good, one not so much. The turnover-prone ‘Noles only had 6 turnovers on the night as a team, as compared to 17 assists. This is the type of play that we need to see from the ‘Noles as rotations shorten in anticipation of conference play. The addition of the rock-solid Phil Cofer, who didn’t play, will help this even further. But there’s something concerning here. Either teams are continuously hitting the 3-point lottery against us (both offensively and defensively) and the Seminole are just unlucky, or we’ve got some issues with 3-point defense and shooting. We need Savoy to be our deep sniper, and he hasn’t been the same shooter we saw against Florida. Look for this to improve in the coming games.
What’s Next for the ‘Noles?
The Seminoles face a much stiffer challenge than the last two games, facing the St. Louis Billikens in the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. So our basketball team will have gone to a “bowl game” while the football team doesn’t? Too soon? Anyway, the Billikens aren’t a shabby team by any means, having wins over Seton Hall and Butler. Senior guard Javon Bess leads the team with 15 ppg, and ties for the team lead in rebounds with 7.3 per game. Senior guard Tremaine Isabell, Jr. adds 12.3 ppg, and sophomore guard Jordan Goodwin chips in 10.7. FSU’s length should be a problem for the Billikens, but the ‘Noles need to continue their good turnover work and shoot the ball efficiently in order to win.
12/22 at 2:30 EST