Inside the box score: FSU-Maryland
"I think we're improving, but we're a long way from being a well-oiled machine."
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton after the Seminoles beat Maryland 84-70 on Tuesday.
Bernard James: James had a big offensive night, scoring 17 points and notching two blocks and three steals. He committed no fouls and went 8-of-13 from the floor.
Michael Snaer: Snaer led the scoring effort with 19 points. He shot 6 of 14 from the floor and went 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
Ian Miller: Miller played 23 minutes off the bench and scored a career-high 18 points. He snagged five rebounds and went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
James sends a message
From the very first possession of the game, Bernard James' intent was clear.
He was going to control the game with his physicality inside the paint.
On that opening possession James missed a layup but got his own rebound and slammed it home over 7-foot-1 Maryland center Alex Len. James finished the game with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals.
"The first play of the game I was trying to dunk everything I could just to show them that it's going to be a long night," James said. "I got a couple dunks early on and that made them tense up. I think it made them start paying me a little more attention, freed our guards up for some stuff."
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said his team couldn't match James' physicality, and that once he got going early he knew it would be a long night.
"He looked like a man among boys and you can probably say he is a man among boys age-wise compared to my kids out there… I thought he was great," Turgeon said. "I thought he made a lot of tough shots. The second-chance points got him going. The dunks early got him going and he made some tough ones down the stretch. He was good and he protects the rim so well too."
In the last three games James has played with more energy and passion than he showed early in the season. James said playing with that same energy the rest of the season is his main focus.
"I just really have got to focus on being that aggressive every game and just make more than one person guard me," he said.
Miller sets a career-high
In just his seventh game of the season, sophomore guard Ian Miller scored a career-high 18 points against Maryland Tuesday night.
Miller knocked down 2 of 3 three-point attempts and went 8-of-8 at the free-throw line as he came off the bench.
"It was just my teammates creating for me, helping me to get open and me attacking the rim more this game," Miller said. "Getting to the foul line, just going through our system and just pushing the tempo in transition and just being able to score easily. It wasn't a hard job to score tonight."
Scoring might not have been a hard job for Miller, but his role on the team isn't an easy one. Coming off the bench Miller has to take advantage of his opportunities when they come.
"He's been doing really well," senior point guard Luke Loucks said. "Obviously he brings a great amount of energy and offense off the bench. He'd be a starter for a lot of teams around the country , but he's kind of bought into the role of coming off the bench and giving us a spark and boy has he been doing a good job of it."
Cutting down the turnovers
It has been the biggest bugaboo for FSU all season long, and Tuesday night the Seminoles where finally able to limit their turnovers.
FSU turned it over just nine times, a season low (previous was 15 in the season opener against Jacksonville), and also finished with 12 assist for the first positive turnover-assist ratio of the season.
"We're just learning how to play within ourselves," head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I think we're moving the ball a little better. We are involving more people… we are not trying to do some things we're not every good at. I think we're playing a little bit more within ourselves."
After the game, Loucks said it was a relief to look at the stat sheet and finally not see double-digit turnovers because of how much they've worked on it practice.
"We've been really working on that, cutting out the turnovers," he said. "It helps with Ian being back and having another ball handler out there. Everybody has just cut out the forceful plays."
Florida State travels to Durham, N.C. to take on No. 4 Duke on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.