Florida State will shoot for a third consecutive victory Saturday when the Seminoles St. John’s in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla.
The Seminoles (3-9) have posted double-digit wins against Louisville and South Carolina Upstate since threatening then No. 3-Virginia in a 62-57 loss to start the month.
Despite losing top rebounder and double-figure scorer Cam’Ron Fletcher (10.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) to a knee injury against Virginia on Dec. 3, Florida State routed Louisville 75-53 a week later, and then on Tuesday they downed South Carolina Upstate 80-63.
Fletcher’s absence marks the sixth FSU scholarship player who has missed time because of injury this season. Jalen Warley, a sophomore, has stepped in for Fletcher at a guard spot, leaving junior Caleb Mills as the only upperclassman starting.
“This is the first year we’ve had to depend so much on first and second-year players and you don’t realize the value of having juniors and seniors on your team,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“No. 1, even if they’re not great players they understand your system and they’ve been through the wars and they understand the pace you have to play to compete and be successful at this level. Well, our sophomores haven’t had that experience.”
St. John’s (10-1) has bounced back from a Dec. 4 loss to Iowa State by beating DePaul (86-67) and New Hampshire (64-51).
David Jones (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Joel Soriano (14, 14) each posted a double-double in the Dec. 10 win over New Hampshire.
The Red Storm were shorthanded in the win over New Hampshire, with Montez Mathis (nine starts) and O’Mar Stanley (two starts) out with injuries.
St. John’s coach Mike Anderson singled out Dylan Addae-Wusu and Esahia Nyiwe for their play of late.
“We wanted to get other guys involved, because we are going to need those guys. I told my guys that you always must be ready, and tonight we were able to do that,” Anderson said after beating UNH. “I thought that it paid off. We wore them out and made fatigue a factor in the game.”
–Field Level Media