TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State finished the non-conference home schedule the way it had done for the last half of the decade — with a resounding victory.
Malik Osborne scored 12 of his season-high 14 points in the first half as No. 17 Florida State cruised to an 88-71 win over North Alabama on Saturday as the Seminoles won their 38th straight non-conference home game. That streak started after a loss to Nebraska on Dec. 1, 2014.
None of the current Florida State players have experienced a home loss in a non-conference game.
“We’re going to have pride playing in the Tuck Center,” said Osborne, a transfer from Rice who made 6 of 12 shots from the floor. “And we instill that mindset in the younger guys. We’re going to defend it until we can’t walk no more.”
This one may not have been as difficult. But with Florida State wrapping up its non-conference portion of the schedule, it’s a streak that will continue into the 2020-21 season.
Balsa Koprivica scored 13 points while Trent Forrest had 10 points and six assists for Florida State (11-2), which has won seven of its games by 10 or more points. Koprivica, a 7-foot freshman, has developed quickly and shown he can be an effective player down low with an array of post moves.
“Balsa really has all the potential to be a stretch 5, whatever he wants to be at that position,” Forrest said. “The more he keeps playing and the more he develops.”
The Seminoles made 16 of 23 (69 %) of their shots from inside the 3-point arc in the first half en route to a 47-26 lead at the break. Florida State finished 32 of 64 (50 % ) from the floor.
Jamari Blackmon scored 15 points and Christian Agnew added 12 points and eight rebounds for North Alabama (5-8). The Lions shot 24 of 52 (46.2 % ) from the floor.
But the Seminoles made it look easy and were even automatic at the free-throw line, connecting on 17 of 17 shots. Florida State was averaging 75 percent from the free-throw line coming into the game.
“That’s really important to us,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I thought we would be a good free-throw shooting team. A lot of it is just confidence.”
A win over North Alabama likely won’t do much to change voters’ impressions of Florida State. But the Seminoles could jump into the top 15 with ACC games approaching against Georgia Tech and Louisville.
AN IMPRESSIVE STRETCH
Florida State is 40-10 in its last 50 games. The Seminoles went 29-8 in 2018-19, reaching the Sweet 16. And Florida State continues to dominate with its 13th straight home victory.
Dominik Olejniczak missed Saturday’s game due to an illness. Hamilton said that the 7-foot center has lost about 15 pounds but hopes that he will be able to return to the court when the Seminoles play Georgia Tech.
North Alabama: The Lions had 13 first-half turnovers and couldn’t find much rhythm from the floor. North Alabama finished with 18 on the day.
Florida State: The Seminoles had five players in double figures but also showed their capabilities on the defensive end with nine steals and six blocks.
North Alabama: The Lions play host to Jacksonville on Thursday.
Florida State: The Seminoles will play host to Georgia Tech on Tuesday.