Florida State allowed for no suspense. It wasted little time.
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The routine effort means the Seminoles used its week off nicely, bouncing back from an ugly 26-turnover performance to top Loyola Marymount 77-61 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday. The Seminoles will now prepare to take on archrival Florida in Gainesville on Thursday.
Controlling both the glass and its turnover count in the first half, Florida State (8-3) took its first double-digit lead at 28-18 with 5:13 left before halftime. By the break, the Seminoles led 38-23 and turned the ball over only six times.
"I thought we had periods where we moved the ball and made the extra pass," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton, whose team ranked 333rd among 338 Division I-A teams in turnovers as of Dec. 11. His team committed a season-low 16 turnovers on Sunday.
"I was pleased to see that we took care of the ball a little better," he said. "The types of turnovers we had today were ones where I thought we were being aggressive … most of our turnovers were a result of attacking the basket and trying to make big plays."
It was a stark contrast to the Seminoles' 26-turnover night in a 75-60 win over UNC Greensboro on Dec. 11. Caring for the basketball continued to be a point of emphasis as FSU had an open week with final exams.
"We've been pounding it all week long," said point guard Luke Loucks, who racked up a game-high eight assists against three turnovers on Sunday. "We've seen all the turnovers, and some of it we're just scratching out head saying, 'What are we doing?' This isn't anywhere near a high Division I basketball team, the mistakes we're making. And they're just stupid turnovers.
"I think it got everyone thinking, if we just run the offense and make the simple play, we're going to score a lot of points. I feel like (Sunday) we made a step in the right direction with the turnovers."
While taking care of the basketball, the Seminoles also took advantage of its length, dominating the glass to the tune of a 49-32 rebounding advantage. FSU collected 21 offensive rebounds leading to 25 second-chance points.
"Their length, they're just … they outrebounded us by 17," Loyola Marymount coach Max Good said. FSU held the Lions to 35.7 percent shooting on Sunday. "You're not going to win any game with that. Leonard knows you're going to win with defense and rebounding.
Senior Bernard James recorded his fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 17 points - despite going just 3-of-12 from the free throw line - and 12 rebounds. Several of James' buckets and trips to the line came as a consequence of his effort on the boards.
"(The coaches) kind of challenged our manhood (in practice this week)," James said. "We need to go out there and be tough, get offensive rebounds and get second-chance points because we were kind of struggling. It was really taking a different mindset in the game and going harder."
Florida State never saw its lead smaller than 15 after the break, stretching it out to as much as 24 midway through the second half. Michael Snaer netted 12 points for the game while Xavier Gibson added 10.