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November 20, 2011
A program defined by its defensive prowess, Florida State struggled to defend the three-point line the last time out.
It's safe to say that corrections have been made.
The No. 24 Seminoles' defense was stout this time, holding South Alabama to 0-of-24 shooting from three-point range on the way to an 80-39 win at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday.
After allowing Stetson to hit 10 three-pointers on Wednesday, Florida State (4-0) was smothering against the Jaguars, holding them to 23.5 percent shooting for the game. USA netted just 16 field goals on 68 attempts and turned the ball over 16 times.
FSU grabbed a double-digit lead at 20-10 just 8:38 into the contest and never looked back.
"I thought defensively, we were on point (Sunday)," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton , whose team has led the nation in field goal percentage defense the past two seasons. "Obviously (three-point defense) was a point of emphasis on our part because our defensive principles were not consistent in the Stetson game."
Six different USA players attempted multiple three-point shots with none of them falling.
"(Florida State) has one of the best teams in the country," South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow said. "Needless to say that when you're guys go 0-fer, you're not going to win many games. I don't think I've ever had a team go 0-fer in a game, especially shooting that many. ? Never in my wildest dreams - we've got three or four good shooters, and they were just null and void (on Sunday)."
Florida State's solid offensive output was paced by point guard Luke Loucks, who took advantage of South Alabama's defensive game plan to score 11 of the team's first 20 points. With backup point guard Jeff Peterson out with a knee sprain, Loucks logged a season-high 32 minutes and became the seventh different FSU player to log a double-figure scoring performance this season.
I could tell from the first few plays that their gameplan was kind of 'Don't help on him because he's just going to pass,'" said Loucks, who totaled a game-high 18 points. "I don't feel like they're disrespecting me, but any time that their defense is geared towards my passing, you've got to be aggressive and make them pay."
As for Peterson, Hamilton said the sprain was caused by a slip during practice on Saturday. Hamilton set no date on a potential return, but was optimistic that he could be back at some point during Florida State's trip to the Battle for Atlantis in the Bahamas later this week. Florida State opens the tournament against UMass on Thursday.
"He might be available for our next game, he might not," Hamilton said. "But the doctors didn't say it was anything real serious, so I'm hopeful we'll get in him back in a timely fashion."