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November 14, 2011
An injured left ankle couldn't slow down FSU center Bernard James for long.
After logging just 15 minutes and one point with the bad wheel in Friday's season opener, James, coupled with a stingy defensive effort, drove the Seminoles to a 73-50 drubbing of Central Florida at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Monday night.
Tapped by many to become FSU's standout in 2011-12, James showed why, setting career highs in points (18) and rebounds (11) in the win. Those numbers came just three days after his ankle forced team doctors to limit his playing time in the win over Jacksonville.
"I thought he gave us a big lift," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's a guy that we missed the other night. He has a way of clogging up that middle, changing shots, discouraging people of coming in the lane."
Florida State doled out plenty of UCF discouragement on the defensive end, holding the Knights (1-2) to 18 field goals (30.5 percent field goal percentage) a dismal 6-of-30 mark from three-point range. James led the way with three blocks.
"I definitely happy with (the way I played)," said James, who said his ankle was pain-free and was back to "100 percent" on Wednesday.
Florida State (2-0) stretched an eight-point halftime lead into a 52-39 edge with 11:22 to play. But that's when the defense really buckled down as the Knights could muster just 11 points the rest of the way.
Offensively, James paced a dominant inside game, going 8-of-9 from the field.
"He was terrific (Monday)," UCF coach Donnie Jones said. "I was really impressed in watching him. Coach Hamilton and his staff has done a great job developing him. He's only getting better and better, he's long, he's athletic ? his length bothered us on the defensive end as well as his ability now to score on the offensive end makes him a two-headed monster."
That wasn't all for FSU on the interior. Forward Xavier Gibson added 12 points while Terrance Shannon came back from a career night in the season opener to post 10 points. All told, FSU scored 38 of its 73 points in the paint.
The lone sore spot for FSU came in its 19 turnovers.
"Florida State is a very good team," Jones said. "Their length, their athleticism, their size really bothered us inside."
Florida State will be back to host Stetson on Wednesday at 7 p.m.