The November cobwebs undoubtedly stretched their way through Florida State's season-opening effort.
But despite those spurts of sloppiness, the Seminoles stayed in control, kicking off the 2011-12 campaign with a 79-67 win over Jacksonville University at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Friday night.
"We played in spurts," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I thought we had some moments when we got out and ran and attacked in transition, executed well in the half court, then there were some times where we didn't execute well at all."
On the bad side, FSU struggled some defensively, allowing JU to combine for 27 points off turnovers and second chances. The Dolphins (0-1) also racked up 14 offensive rebounds. On the good side, as Jacksonville (0-1) schemed to take away the Seminoles' inside game, FSU went 8-of-17 from three-point range, long distance accuracy that helped keep FSU ahead comfortably throughout.
While an ankle injury limited star center Bernard James to 15 minutes and one point, junior forward Terrance Shannon led the charge with a high-energy performance. He netted a career-high 16 points and adding 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. Shannon accrued the double-double with nine minutes still remaining on the game clock.
"Terrance was a guy who gave us all the hustle baskets," Hamilton said.
"Energy and effort, that's what (Shannon) does," Jacksonville head coach Cliff Warren said. "He just plays physical."
Shannon, one of nine key contributors returning for FSU this season, was 4-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. His previous career high of 12 points was set last year.
"I was just trying to get the job done, honestly," Shannon said. "I just continued to work hard (in the preseason) and hopefully it would pay off."
With its outside shot on target and a strong performance from Shannon, FSU held a lead of 17 or more for the majority of the second half. But a sloppy finish allowed the Dolphins to mount a 10-1 run and cut the lead to 77-64 with 2:14 left. A dunk from freshman Terry Whisnant - his first collegiate points - stopped the bleeding with 1:55 left.
All told, JU shot 50 percent from the field (13-of-26) in the second half against a team that led the nation in field goal percentage defense the past two years.
"We're still learning, trying to pick up where we left off defensively," said Deividas Dulkys, who joined Michael Snaer with a game-high 16 points apiece. Dulkys and Snaer combined to shoot 6-of-10 from behind the arc.
"At times, we let guys drive by us, but then some times we looked unbelievable, like the best defensive team. We just got to get back in the rhythm and play that way for the whole 40 minutes."