SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida State Seminoles had a hunch even before they took the court Saturday they might be tested by Manhattan, and they were correct.
“Our locker room is right next to theirs, so we heard them before the game just yelling,” Seminoles guard Dwayne Bacon said. “We recognized they definitely had a lot more energy than we did in the first half.”
Bacon scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half to help No. 23 Florida State pull away for its seventh consecutive victory, beating Manhattan 83-67 in the opening game at the Orange Bowl Classic.
Bacon took only one shot in the first half but embraced coach Leonard Hamilton’s advice to help the Seminoles pull away after halftime.
“Coach Hamilton said I should just go to the middle and attack,” said Bacon, chosen the game’s most valuable player for the second straight year.
The taller Seminoles dominated inside, scoring 46 points in the paint, drawing 31 fouls and building a 36-23 edge in rebounds. They switched to a zone after the Jaspers shot 57 percent to trail 46-41 at halftime.
“A very tough game for us,” Hamilton said. “I thought they were well prepared. We had a hard time staying in front of them. They were a little quicker than we were in the first half. Second half we made some adjustments.”
The Seminoles (11-1) are off to their best start in school history, and the winning streak is their longest since 2012.
“Our team is still young, still growing,” Hamilton said. “We’re very fortunate to be 11-1. I think we have a lot of room for improvement. This is a good game to learn from.”
The Seminoles have won in the one-day Orange Bowl Classic each of the past five seasons.
“They’re a team that’s hard to stop for 40 minutes,” Jaspers coach Steve Masiello said. “They did all the little things I think will make them a tough team the rest of the year.”
Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 10 points and five assists for Florida State. Zavier Turner had 18 points and five assists for Manhattan (3-8), which hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 1995.
Three Jaspers had three or more fouls by halftime, and four finished with four fouls each, but Manhattan’s outside shooting kept the score from being even more lopsided. The Jaspers went 9 for 24 on 3-pointers, and the Seminoles went 2 for 6.
The Seminoles scored at least 83 points for the fourth straight game. They shot 56 percent and went 27 for 40 from the free throw line but fell short of their season scoring average of 89.8.
Florida State took a 25-15 lead, then fell behind 32-29 when Turner hit a 3-pointer. Manhattan went without a field goal for the next 6 1/2 minutes.
The Jaspers cut the margin to 46-44 early in the second half, but Florida State then went on a 15-4 run to break the game open.
Florida, which lost to Florida State on Sunday, played Charlotte in the second game of the doubleheader at the Florida Panthers’ arena.
Manhattan plays at St. Francis Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Florida State hosts Samford in a Monday afternoon tipoff.
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