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Florida State opened its season in impressive fashion, dominating the Jacksonville Dolphins 87-61 Monday night in Tallahassee. In a game the Seminoles led by as many as 33 points, sophomore center Solomon Alabi paced Florida State with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Florida State (1-0) never trailed by more than two and got out to a 35-18 lead at the half. The Seminoles didn't look back in the second half as they used a well rounded effort to dismantle the Dolphins.
"I think from start to finish we played with a tremendous amount of energy," Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I was glad to see that. We weren't always as sound fundamentally on defense. I think we will be once we get a few more games under our belt, but I thought our energy was very good. We were active. We got our hands on a lot of balls."
Joining Alabi in double-digits were four other Seminoles. Freshman guard Michael Snaer (14 points), senior forward Ryan Reid (13 points, eight rebounds), freshman forward Xavier Gibson (12 points), and sophomore guard Deividas Dulkys (11 points, 7 rebounds) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
Alabi said that he and his teammates did not want a repeat of last year's 59-57 victory over Jacksonville.
"Last year we beat them by two points. We didn't really like it, we felt bad about it," Alabi said. "Every player on the team had a DVD of the game from last year and we watched it over and over again. We talked about it among each other that we weren't going to let it happen this year."
As a team, Florida State shot 31-of-52 from the field and 8-of-18 from 3-point range. It was a marked improvement over its first two exhibition games when the Seminoles struggled from the field.
"After the first exhibition games, we got in the gym a lot more and took some more shots," Dulkys said. "We took good shots tonight and made them."
The Seminoles did struggle at the foul line, hitting only 17-of-29.
Also, the Seminoles had 22 assists in the victory but did commit 19 turnovers.
"That is how this team is," junior guard Derwin Kitchen said of the assist numbers. "We had 19 turnovers, that was a bad thing. I had four ugly turnovers. But other than that, that is how this team is. We are so unselfish that at any given moment somebody can knock that shot down."
Florida State had a 42-26 rebounding advantage over the Dolphins.
Jacksonville (0-1) was led by senior guard Ben Smith, a preseason favorite for Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, who scored 17 points in a losing effort.
Florida State freshman forward Terrance Shannon did not dress for the game against the Dolphins due to an eye injury suffered in practice earlier this week.
Florida State returns to action on Wednesday evening when it hosts the Stetson Hatters at 7 p.m.