No. 13 Seminoles overwhelm another opponent, roll to 93-61 win
Canisius won 21 games a season ago and went 15-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference before being upset in the conference tournament.
It's a solid college basketball team. With two talented guards who both have professional futures.
And Florida State beat them by 32 points on Monday night.
The No. 13 Seminoles got 51 points off their bench and completely wore down the visitors in the second half en route to a 93-61 win at the Tucker Center.
Mfiondu Kabengle led FSU with 18 points. Terance Mann and M.J. Walker each added 12, and freshman Devin Vassell scored 10 as Leonard Hamilton's team improved to 3-0 on the season with another impressive win.
"I thought we had great energy coming off the bench," Hamilton said. "I take my hat off to this team (Canisius). This was the hardest, toughest, 30-point victory I think I've ever been a part of."
That's not coach speak.
As suffocating as the Seminoles were all night on defense -- and they made Canisius work hard for every point -- they were still only up by six points with 14 minutes left in the game. The Golden Griffin made some incredibly difficult shots and got enough stops to continue to hang around and keep things interesting.
Until, finally, the Seminoles buried them for good.
FSU closed the game on a 27-7 run over the final seven minutes.
"They play so hard they make you uncomfortable," Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said.
And it's not just the starters, Witherspoon added. It's every single player that comes into the game. And on Monday night, Hamilton played 11 players. Ten played at least 13 minutes.
"The guys that came into the game for them appeared to be jumping on a train or bus that was already moving," Witherspoon said. "And it's coming with full-speed intensity."
The Canisius coach then said if you were trying to explain to someone from another planet what it means to play hard, you would show them video of the Florida State basketball team.
On Monday night, the Seminoles swarmed both of Canisius' star guards, Isaiah Reese and Takal Molson, and forced them into 12-of-32 shooting from the floor.
They challenged almost every shot. Like it was an NCAA Tournament game.
"If they just played extra guys and they just came in and their intensity level dropped off," Witherspoon said, "we might have had a chance."
But they didn't. So they didn't.
Kabengele was especially instrumental for the Seminoles, seemingly hitting a bucket or slamming home a dunk every time the game got close. His 18 points were a career high. He also grabbed six rebounds.
Trent Forrest had another Trent Forrest game -- eight points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and a plus-18 (plus-minus ratio). No Seminole played more than 29 minutes, despite the game not being in control until the final five or six minutes.
"We've been preaching about that really since the first exhibition game about the energy (the bench players) need to bring coming onto the floor," Walker said. "Because that's really Florida State basketball. The past couple of years, our bench has been what's keeping our team going. We win in numbers.
"For them to come into the game and give the energy they give, 51 points, that's big time. We need that every single night."
And while the Seminoles probably won't get 51 a night from the bench, Hamilton certainly hopes to continue to get that kind of effort and intensity and defensive focus.
He liked what he saw on Monday night. He knows he's going to need to see it a lot more moving forward.
"I thought we did a pretty good job, no doubt about that," Hamilton said. "We're trying to concentrate on making progress in those areas. We're going to play against those types of guys in the ACC every night out. And we've got to figure out a way to contain and contest a little better.
"I think we're growing up a little."
Florida State plays again on Thanksgiving night in Orlando against UAB in the first round of the Advocare Invitational.
Cofer still out
Hamilton said after the game that senior forward Phil Cofer "is still not close" from returning from the foot injury he suffered in preseason practice. Hamilton said he's making progress, and they're hoping to get him out of the protective boot soon, but it doesn't sound as if they're expecting their leading returning scorer to be available this month.