TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)—When Florida State saw Texas A&M-Corpus Christi take No. 2 Texas to the limit two days ago, the 18th-ranked Seminoles took notice.
And Florida State started draining 3-pointers Monday night, the Islanders noticed. They just couldn’t do anything to stop it.
The Seminoles (13-2) hit a season-high 12 3-pointers to coast past A&M-Corpus Christi 94-54 for their seventh straight victory.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said the Islanders’ tenacity in the six-point loss to Texas gave the Seminoles all the motivation they needed.
“It was obvious we had to be really prepared to play against a team that was hungry, quick and was kind of on a mission,” Hamilton said. “We realized we had to take this team seriously.
“I thought the respect we had of how they played against Texas was a direct reflection of how focused we were at the beginning of the game.”
Florida State raced to a 16-2 lead over the Islanders (5-8) less than 4 minutes into the game. Deividas Dulkys had eight of those points, including the first two of his game-high five 3-pointers.
“Coach said just throw the first punch,” said Dulkys, who had 14 of his 17 points in the first half. “The coaches preached a lot about the Texas game and how Texas wasn’t ready. We tried to come out, execute and hit the first punch. I don’t think they were expecting that.”
Islanders coach Perry Clark tried some of the strategies against Florida State that worked against Texas. His team tried to win the battle in the paint and allow the Seminoles to shoot jump shots.
Florida State hasn’t normally relied on its 3-point shooting, making just six per game. When those shots started falling, Clark knew his team was in trouble.
“When they started making those, it just starts opening up driving lanes and I think it gave them a lot of confidence,” Clark said. “They played with fresh legs and that made it tougher. It was an uphill battle all the way.”
Chris Singleton scored 12 points for Florida State, hitting four of five from 3-point range, while Luke Loucks and Jordan Demercy each added 10 points.
Demond Watt led the Islanders with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Kevin Palmer scored 13 points.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi made just one shot from the field in the game’s first 7:30 and shot 29 percent in the first half. The Islanders kept it from being a first-half blowout by hitting 11 of 15 free throws.
This was second straight game Florida State held its opponent under 30 percent shooting and the seventh straight game it forced its opponent to shoot worse than 37 percent.
Florida State forced 25 turnovers, tying the Islanders’ worst total for the season. The Seminoles committed just 11 turnovers, tying a season low. They entered Monday night averaging 18 turnovers per game.
“That’s been an Achilles’ heel of ours,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been taking away possessions from us and giving them an opportunity to score. In my mind, that’s always a negative. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how much five less turnovers would mean to you.”