TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Junior Wooden Award and All-American candidate Chris Singleton scored a game-high 22 points and earned a game-high five steals to lead Florida State to a 95-74 victory over Rollins College in the Seminoles' first of two exhibition games at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Singleton led five Seminoles in double figure scoring and helped the home team to 14 steals and five blocked shots as they continued their preparations for the upcoming 2010-11 season.
The Seminoles will play host to Mid Continent University on Nov. 9 before opening their regular season against North Florida at home on Nov. 12. Tickets are available for the Seminoles' final exhibition game and for the entire season on a home schedule that includes Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State (in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge) and Florida.
Singleton, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was outstanding both offensively and defensively in the 23 minutes he played. In addition to his 22 points and five steals, he totaled three rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. Singleton shot the ball well from the field (seven of 12), the 3-point line (four of six) and the free throw line (four of six). He scored nine points in the first half in leading Florida State to the wire-to-wire win.
"Obviously Chris gives us a defensive presence that very few other kids can match," said head coach Leonard Hamilton. "After that, I think our guys are fairly close, and hopefully we can buy into that and have that camaraderie, togetherness, and unity - embrace the fact that we have a couple of guys that can be interchangeable and it could be a positive strength to our team."
In addition to Singleton's 22 points, freshman Okaro White scored 17, junior Bernard James totaled 14 (and nine rebounds), freshman Ian Miller scored 12 (to go along with a game-high seven assists) and junior Xavier Gibson scored 11 (in addition to eight rebounds) as nine of the 11 Seminoles who appeared in the game got themselves into the scoring column.
"I thought it was a good team for us to play against because they are a veteran team," said Hamilton. "That offensive system that they run, most coaches will tell you that you have to spend a lot of time working on it. They challenged all of our defensive principles consistently and even though we were playing very hard, and very aggressive, we hadn't really prepared for their system. I am happy that we played a team that mixed their defenses up, they played mostly zone, and we have been working mostly on our man-to-man defense. We do have some systems in to attack zones. They ran one system tonight, they ran the 1-3-1 and we haven't practiced against it at all. We drew it up in the time out and came out and I think we executed very well."
Junior Deividas Dulkys scored the first basket of the game for Florida State (a 3-pointer) and the Seminoles never looked back. Led by Singleton's four shots from the bonusphere, the Seminoles made 13 shots from long range and shot nearly 50 percent (13 of 27, .481 percent) from the 3-point line. Dulkys (two), White (three) and Miller (two) joined Singleton in making multiple 3-point shots during the game.
Florida State won the rebounding battle (36-21), held the Tars to .452 shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers. Singleton (five steals), Miller (three), White (two) and senior Derwin Kitchen all recorded multiple steals. Both James (in his first game at the Division I level) (14 points and nine rebounds) and Gibson (11 points and eight rebounds) came within one and two rebounds, respectively, of earning double-doubles.
"Bernard has an uncanny way of just being around the ball," said Hamilton. "He finishes well around the basket. He is still a little bit unsure of what exactly he is supposed to be doing. He is not uncomfortable, but he is doing a lot of thinking. We are just telling him to do the things that he knows how to do, run the floor, go to the offensive boards, put backs, block shots, and then we will keep working in practice and hopefully he will get a better grasp on our system. He showed that he can be physical, just hoping that we have enough time before the season starts to bring him along in such a fashion that he can play with a lot of confidence."
Florida State's highly touted recruiting class of James, Miller and White combined to score 43 points, grab 17 rebounds, account for eight assists and six steals.
"Ian has ice water in his veins," said Hamilton. "There are guys that play with a lot of confidence. Okaro hasn't played small forward at all in a week or so. He has been playing inside in basically all of our practices. That just shows his ability to adjust.