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October 30, 2013

Short-handed FSU rolls in first exhibition

Photo Gallery: FSU basketball exhibition game

In Florida State's first exhibition of the season, the Seminoles' defense left head coach Leonard Hamilton impressed - at least in the first half.

The Seminoles routed Southeastern 112-74 in the exhibition game and Okaro White and Montay Brandon led the way with 23 points each. Florida State held Southeastern to 23.3 percent shooting in the first half.

"Our guys showed that we are capable of being consistent with our defensive principles in the first half" Hamilton said. "The things we've been challenging them with in terms of being consistent with how we think we need to play defense in order to be successful."

As the game got out of hand in the second half, FSU's defense started to break down. Part of that could be attributed to fatigue; three FSU players saw more than 30 minutes of playing time due to a tighter rotation than usual. Aaron Thomas and Ian Miller both sat out the game due to a violation of team rules, Hamilton said. Hamilton declined to say if Thomas and Miller would miss any further time.

Southeastern shot 54 percent in the second half and scored 56 points.

"We didn't really shrink the gaps as well," Hamilton said. "Their whole system is dribble-drive and I thought we let the continue to dribble on the defensive end. So we still have a ways to go there. I don't think it's from lack of talent, our guys are buying in. We've just got to get a little more sound there."

Brandon's 23 points also showcased a midrange jump shot that he said he's been working on in the offseason and added a team-high five assists. Sophomore point guard Devon Bookert finished with 17 points along with four steals. At halftime, FSU led 51-18.

Freshman forward Jarquez Smith put up an impressive 15 points in his debut at the Tucker Center on 7-11 shooting. Smith also hauled in four offensive rebounds.

"He's showing us that he's capable of being productive even without really knowing what he was doing," Hamilton said. "He had 15 points and he was very rarely in the right place. He was a little out of step with things, but his ability - you can see he's capable of doing things naturally."

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