It was an unexpected showdown between Florida State men’s basketball and Division II Flagler College to open up the preseason on Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. While the Seminoles led for the majority of the game, the Saints kept close and even took the lead.
Flagler nearly pulled off the shocker late, but FSU pulled away in the final minutes of the game, outlasting the Saints for a 90-74 preseason victory. The Seminoles went on a 19-3 run over the final six minutes of the game.
“We had some decent moments. We’re fairly athletic, but we don’t quite have some of the quickness we’ve had in the past,” head coach Leonard Hamilton said. “That means we need to play extremely aggressively for our defense to be effective. I think we’ve had our moments, but that’s the progress we have to make.”
Redshirt junior forward and VCU transfer Jamir Watkins led the Seminoles with 18 points and six rebounds in his first game at FSU. Sophomore Baba Miller followed 16 points, pushing a double-double with nine rebounds. Darin Green Jr and Cam’ron Fletcher both had 13 points, with Fletcher adding eight rebounds.
Consistency was the main thing that Hamilton emphasized after he saw flashes of strong shooting, but not throughout the entire game.
“This could be one of our better shooting teams than what we’ve had,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t shoot that well today as well as we’re capable of. I came away from this game realizing the potential we have, but also realizing we’ve got to play with a lot more energy in order for us to realize our true potential.”
FSU as a team shot 53% from the field, and only 27% from 3-point range. From the line, it shot 60% compared to Flagler’s 79%, hitting 19 of 24 free throws. It was the free throws that kept the Saints in the game as Jalen Barr hit 5-7 and Destin Clark made 6-7. He led all scorers with 19 points.
The Seminoles have one more preseason game left against Valdosta State, at home, on Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. It will then open up the regular season against Kennesaw State on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Tucker Center.
“Our tempo wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be, but it’s a good start,” Hamilton said. “A lot of these guys have adjustments to make. They’ve got to play at the pace we want to play at, offensively and defensively. We’ve got some work to do, but I think we have some good pieces to work with.
Jack Williams covers Florida State athletics for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State men’s basketball opens up preseason with win over Flagler