After losing back-to-back games, Florida State returned to their winning ways on Tuesday night when they took down Georgia State 78-48 at home. The Seminoles jumped out to an immediate lead and never looked back.
After two disappointing losses in the Glenn Wilkes Classic this past weekend, head coach Leonard Hamilton was happy to see his team get back in the win column.
"I thought we played with more energy tonight," Hamilton said. "We were very sound defensively. We are certainly making improvements in those areas.
"Overall I would grade this as a B-minus or C-plus kind of game. We have to do a lot better than that to get where we want to go."
Florida State held a comfortable 35-21 lead at the half. Junior forward Uche Echefu led the way with 12 points at the break. Freshman Julian Vaughn also chipped in contributing eight points off the bench.
In the second half, the Seminoles put the game out of reach with a 28-8 run after the Panthers had closed the gap to 10 points.
Echefu led the Seminoles scoring 18 points on the evening, a new career-high.
"I think our defense was good from the beginning and that created our offense," Echefu said. "I had open shots and my coaches told me not to pass on those shots. I had good looks and I wasn't missing. I felt good out there."
The Seminoles starting power forward was joined in double digits by Isaiah Swann, who finished with 14 points, and point guard Toney Douglas, who dropped in 10.
"It felt good to win, it was a relief," Swann said. "We have to get ready and keep improving. We needed this game though to get our confidence back up and to get us back into a rhythm."
As a team, the Seminoles scored 32 points in the paint compared to only 18 for Georgia State. Despite that advantage, Hamilton feels this is the area where FSU must improve if they hope to reach their goals.
"We still do not have the proper balance on the inside offensive attack," Hamilton said. "We shot the ball well from the perimeter but we are not enough of an inside attack to compete at the level we want to compete at. We have not developed that consistency. We need somebody that we can throw the ball into the paint to who can draw the foul and cause the defense to respect us inside."
Another area of concern for Hamilton is rebounding. On Tuesday night, the Seminoles were out-rebounded 41-30 and allowed Georgia State to grab 21 offensive rebounds.
"Anytime you give up 21 offensive rebounds, it has to be a tremendous concern to you," Hamilton said. "That is really a real point of concern."
Freshman Jordan Demercy, who finished with six points, scored the first points of his career in the second half on a lay-in. Fellow freshman Solomon Alabi saw his first extended time in nearly a week playing six minutes. Alabi grabbed two rebounds and blocked two shots.
"I was glad to get Solomon in the game," Hamilton said. "The process is to increase his activity and see how he responds. The first couple of days of increased activity he was extremely sore but as we move with a little more activity his soreness has subsided somewhat."
The Seminoles had 15 assists but turned it over 16 times on the evening.
The 'Noles return to the court on Friday when they travel to Gainesville to face the No. 25 ranked Florida Gators. That game is set to tip at 7:00 p.m. and will be shown on FSN-FL.