TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Since the start of preseason practices, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has been selling his team’s depth as their biggest advantage. On Tuesday night, the Seminoles put that on full display.
Six players scored in double figures as the Seminoles cruised to a 99-78 victory over Iona. It is the first time since the 2014-15 opener against Manhattan that they have had that many players in double figures.
“Overall I was pleased with the direction,” Hamilton said. “The biggest challenge for us is to utilize the quality of the depth. We’re trying to explain that we have to understand that each night it is going to be different guys that are going to step up. We’re a team that is going to win by committee.”
Freshman Jonathan Isaac led the way with 20 points as the 2-0 Seminoles shot 58 percent from the floor (34 of 59) and were 30 of 42 when not shooting 3-pointers. Phil Cofer had 13 points and six rebounds while Terrance Mann (12), Jarquez Smith (12), Trent Forrest (10) and Dwayne Bacon (10) also scored in double figures.
They also had nine players who saw 15 minutes or more of playing time as Hamilton continues to look for the best floor combinations.
“We just wanted to lock in and show people why we should be in the tournament. You can’t decide that off two games but you just have to keep playing the way we were playing tonight,” Bacon said.
The Gaels led for most of the first five minutes before the Seminoles went on a 14-2 run for a 24-13 lead with 10:36 remaining. They would lead by as many as 18 in the first half and had a 47-32 advantage at halftime.
FSU led by as many as 26 points midway in the second half as it extended its win streak in nonconference home games to 12.
UConn transfer Sam Cassell Jr., who is the son of former NBA and Florida State standout Sam Cassell Sr., led Iona (0-1) with 28 points. Jordan Washington added 16 and Jon Severe 12.
The Gaels, who scored 37.3 percent of their points on 3-pointers last season, were 9 of 31 from beyond the arc.
“They have a lot more size than we have and when Jordan got in foul trouble it hurts our team,” Iona coach Tim Cluess said. “They did a good job of reversing and driving the ball on us along with really challenging us at the rim and getting us into foul trouble.”
Iona: The Gaels lost six players from last year’s team that made the NCAA Tournament. With two sophomores in the starting lineup, they could struggle early in the season as coach Tim Cluess tries to work in six newcomers into the rotation.
Florida State: Coach Leonard Hamilton was eager to see how his team would do against a quality mid-major opponent. The Seminoles struggled early, especially in their transition game, but freshmen Isaac and Forrest looked more relaxed in their second game, combining for 30 points.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Florida State is usually a good team from the free-throw line but it started out by missing seven of its first 10. The Seminoles though would end the night by making 24 of their last 30.
HE SAID IT
“It felt good getting on the court and playing down here. It’s my father’s team. I wanted to beat him so I could talk trash to him but it is what it is.” Cassell Jr.
Iona: The Gaels travel out west for a game against Nevada on Sunday. Iona’s first six games are on the road and it doesn’t have its first home game until Dec. 4 against Niagara.
Florida State: The Seminoles host Winthrop on Friday as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
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