The newcomers were as good as advertised, but it was two of the most experienced players who really stood out in the Florida State men’s basketball team’s 94-51 victory Thursday night against visiting Mississippi College.
In the first of two preseason exhibitions for Leonard Hamilton’s team, the Seminoles produced five double-digit scorers, led by senior point guard RayQuan Evans (17 points) and senior forward Malik Osborne (16 points, 13 rebounds).
Senior guard Wyatt Wilkes and Houston transfer Caleb Mills scored 11 apiece, and senior center Tanor Ngom added 10 points and four rebounds.
Hamilton, who is looking to replace four of his top five scorers from a year ago, seemed mostly pleased with the exhibition. He liked his team’s effort but said there were too many lapses in concentration, in areas such as boxing out on rebounds.
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Florida State freshman guard Jalen Warley soars in for a reverse layup Thursday night in an exhibition victory over Mississippi College. (Logan Stanford/Special to Warchant.com)
Box Score: FSU 94, Mississippi College 51
Mississippi College actually outscored FSU in second-chance points, 14-10, despite being at a tremendous height disadvantage up and down the roster.
“I think this team has potential, but we’re a long ways from being in sync,” Hamilton said.
Evans’ performance at both ends of the floor was one of the brightest spots. He connected on 6 of 10 shots from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and dished out three assists. Evans also did a nice job of pressuring Mississippi College’s ballhandlers the length of the floor.
“There’s no doubt he’s more comfortable,” Hamilton said of Evans. “He’s a veteran.”
*ALSO SEE: Ira Schoffel’s observations from Thursday’s exhibition, including thoughts on every player who participated
The new faces were extremely impressive as well.
Mills, who transferred in last January but was making his first appearance in front of FSU fans, hit 5 of 6 shots from the field and handed out five assists.
Three members of the Seminoles’ highly touted freshman class also made their debuts: Guard Matthew Cleveland scored 8 points, delivered 5 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds and 3 steals; point guard Jalen Warley scored 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds; and forward John Butler scored 5 points, snared 4 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.
After the game, Hamilton was asked specifically about Cleveland and Warley.
“I think that they showed potential,” the veteran head coach said. “I thought their effort was good. It’s going to be good for them to watch film and go back and analyze their strengths and the things they did well and the things they need to do better.”
As a team, FSU shot 61.3 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from the 3-point line. The only area where the Seminoles struggled offensively was in free-throw shooting (8-for-19), but Hamilton he was confident those numbers will improve in the future.
“That’s why I like to play exhibition games in front of a crowd,” he said. “Get some of the jitters and nerves out of the way.”
FSU played without senior guard Anthony Polite, junior center Naheem McLeod and sophomore Kentucky transfer Cam’Ron Fletcher.
Polite is nursing a minor injury and should be back soon. Hamilton did not offer specifics about Fletcher or McLeod, but he said they should be available for FSU’s second and final exhibition, Friday, Nov. 5, against Florida College.
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