All-America candidate Solomon Alabi scored a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds and junior guard Derwin Kitchen scored a team-high 18 points to lead Florida State to a 73-61 victory over Georgetown College in the Seminoles' final exhibition game of the preseason at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles finished with a 2-0 record in the exhibition season and they now begin preparations for their regular season opener against Jacksonville at home on Nov. 16.
The Seminoles played well defensively as they outrebounded the Tigers, held them to 36.7 shooting from the field and were credited with 10 steals. The game saw 61 fouls called and 68 free throws attempted. A total of four Tiger players fouled out of the game. Florida State attempted 41 free throws to the Tigers' 27 as they aggressively worked to get the ball into its taller players in the post. Florida State made more free throws (28) than the Tigers attempted (27) in gaining the victory.
"We expected that (a physical game)," said Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton. "Everybody they have played, they have shot a lot of free throws. I think they shot 72 free throws when they played Louisville. They are very aggressive. That is their style. I can't think of a better team to play than a team that has been practicing since August. They are the seventh ranked team in their division. That was very good for us. They were extremely aggressive."
Kitchen's 18 points came on six of eight shooting from the field and a near perfect five of six shooting from the free throw line. He scored 12 points in the second half as Florida State built its lead to as many as 17 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Kitchen scored five of the Seminoles' first seven points of the second half to help the home team stretch their five point half time lead to 10 with just over five minutes elapsed after intermission.
"We need Derwin to be what he has always been, a pass first type of leader on the floor," said Hamilton. "He breaks the pressure down, he gets us in and out of our system and he's now taking a leadership role. He is communicating with his teammates. He is better conditioned, more confident."
Hamilton also praised Kitchen's backcourt mate Luke Loucks who led the Seminoles with three assists and one steal in 25 minutes of play.
"I thought Luke was solid," said Hamilton. "He didn't shoot the ball as well as we know he is capable of shooting. I think we are at the point now where we have to keep working and keep grinding and we will get this team together."
Alabi, who is a candidate for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards as the top player in all of college basketball, did much of his damage from the free throw line as he made seven of his 10 shots after being fouled. Despite making only three shots from the field, he scored more than half of his points from the free throw line as he scored in double figures for the second consecutive exhibition game - he scored 16 points in last week's victory over Delta State.
Sophomore Xavier Gibson also scored in double figures as he totaled 13 points and six rebounds as he was very aggressive on both ends of the court. He, too, scored more than half of his points from the free throw line as he made seven of 12 free throws. Gibson also added one assist in 18 minutes of playing time.
"I like our quality depth," concluded Hamilton. "Individually, I like the pieces and how they are coming together. I like Ryan Reid. I like Solomon who is being extremely aggressive on those boards and I think that those guys are posting strong. We need to have 25 to 30 post touches a night, especially a team as tall as we are. I like Xavier's aggressiveness with his rebounding. I think Michael (Snaer) is coming around. He needs a few more games under his belt. I was very pleased with Terrance's (Shannon) aggressiveness. I think Derwin showed he is coming close to showing what he is capable of doing. We all know that Devidas (Dulkys) is a good outside shooter. We are showing some individual skills, but we still aren't quite in sync as a team right now."