Bacon, 'Noles cruise to 88-67 win in season opener
Sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon spent much of the offseason working on improving his jump shot. If one game is any indication, Bacon can consider that mission accomplished.
Bacon led Florida State with 23 points and a game-high 9 rebounds -- hitting 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range -- in a season-opening victory over Charleston Southern on Saturday afternoon in the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (1-0) led by six points at halftime but rolled in the second half to claim an 88-67 win.
"It was pretty good. I didn't just settle for a lot of 3s. I feel like I took a lot, but I got to the basket too and mixed it up a lot," said Bacon, who last season became the first freshman in school history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding.
The 6-foot-7 guard struggled shooting from the perimeter last season, making only 28.1 percent from beyond the arc. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was not only pleased about Bacon's shooting, but his all-around game.
"I thought his defense was good, his energy was excellent and his shot selection was great. He made good decisions with the ball," Hamilton said.
The rest of the Seminoles also shot well, going 33 of 67 from the field. Junior guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 12 points and freshman forward Jonathan Isaac added 10 as FSU improved to 14-1 in openers under Hamilton.
Charleston Southern was up 17-12 early in the first half on a Cortez Mitchell 3-pointer before the Seminoles took the lead for good with a 20-5 run. FSU's largest lead was 22 with under a minute remaining.
Freshman guard Christian Keeling led the Buccaneers with 16 points while Mitchell added 14 and Jamar Martin 12. They struggled on 3-pointers, making just 7 of 25.
Eleven different FSU players saw action in the game, and all 11 played at least 10 minutes. All 11 players also registered at least one point and one rebound.
Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers have eight newcomers on their roster and are still trying to figure out how everyone fits.
Florida State: The Seminoles' shift to an up-tempo offense showed some growing pains. They scored 18 points on the fast break but also had 10 turnovers. They also controlled the paint with a decisive 48-28 edge.
Florida State led 38-32 at halftime but was able to put it away with a 14-2 run to begin the second half. Rathan-Mayes and Isaac each had five points during the run but Isaac had the highlight play with an alley-oop dunk off a Terrance Mann assist to make it 45-32 with 17:41 remaining.
FSU plays at home again Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against visiting Iona.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.