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December 8, 2007

Noles defeat Bears, 95-55

Opposing coaches often drool over Florida State's athleticism and praise the Seminoles' quickness.

But after watching Florida State make a school record 20 3-pointers on its way to a 95-55 route of his Black Bears on Saturday night, Maine coach Ted Woodward took it a step further.

"They are a dangerous team," he said. "If they are able to to shoot the basketball at a high level from three, it is something that can take them even further in their conference. I know it has been something that had been bothering them early in the season, but it certainly wasn't a weakness tonight."

Florida State (9-2) used its week off to rest, shoot, and prepare for the onslaught of zone defenses that opponents will use to try to offset the athletic advantage the Seminoles' have over most teams. It payed off Saturday. The Seminoles made six of their first seven 3-point attempts, which chased the outmanned Black Bears out of their zone.

"We were prepared for their zone," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We moved the ball and got the ball to shooters in position where they could knock them down and I thought our guys were prepared mentally to shoot the ball before the ever received it."

They finished 20-of-35 from the 3-point line, and four players had more than three made 3-pointers. It was the highest 3-point output for Florida State since the Seminoles made 17 against Stetson during the 03-04 season.

"We understand that playing against certain zones is a weakness for a our team," said senior guard Ralph Mims, who was 3-for-3 from the 3-point line. "This whole week that is all we have been concentrating on...I think we displayed that tonight."

Isaiah Swann led five Seminoles in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Jason Rich scored 15, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line. The Seminoles also dished out a season high 23 assists.

Walk-on junior guard Brian Hoff displayed the range that Hamilton had praised in recent weeks, stringing together five consecutive made 3-pointers to finish with 15. He had only scored 22 points in his career, and had missed his first five 3-point attempts this season.

"It appeared like the more I complimented him and the more I encouraged him the more uptight he became," Hamilton said. "I told him before I put him in the game I told him would he please just relax and go in and shoot the ball like he is capable of shooting."

With each made 3-pointer, the Florida State players and fans erupted.

"It was unbelievable for me," Hoff said. "Words can't describe how I felt when everything was dropping."

Freshman 7-footer Solomon Alabi got his first start of the season, and pulled down seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Junior forward Casaan Breeden was not on the bench for Saturday's game, and Hamilton refused to go into any details on Breeden's status.

Talk about it on the Tribal Council or the Hoops Message Board.



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