Florida State basketball coach Leonard Hamilton likes to see his teams play with high energy in an up-tempo style in which defense forces the play at the other end.
He likes to use multiple-player rotations to keep bodies fresh as they apply pressure to the opposition.
He hasn’t had that luxury this season, for various reasons, but during Thursday’s opening game of the ESPN Events Invitational against Siena, the Saints showed FSU what their own style looks like.
Siena jumped on FSU early, creating turnovers, wreaking havoc on defense and turning it into an offensive rhythm that stunned the Seminoles. FSU missed 5 of its first 7 shots, a trend that would be a common thread throughout the game, and lost for the fifth time in six games 80-63.
Hamilton said it was difficult to point to one factor that caused FSU’s issues.
“When you lose games, everyone is looking for an excuse. You say it’s energy, some people say we don’t have the depth we’ve had, some people say it was fatigue setting in, and it’s the first time we’ve not had juniors a seniors on the squad … all those things,” Hamilton said. “But the bottom line is we have to find a way to be the best version of who we are.”
FSU kept pace early, but Siena’s graduate senior sharpshooter Andrew Platek showed what experience can do a for a team. Besides his ability to shoot the ball, Platek was also an invaluable floor leader the rest of the team looked to.
Platek, a transfer from North Carolina, led scorers Thursday with 20 points on 7 of 9 shooting (5 of 6 3-pointers) and he was joined by backcourt mate Javian McCollum (18 points on 5 of 9 shooting).
“I’m just really proud of our guys’ effort,” Siena coach Carmen Maciariello said. ”I thought we were able to kind of dictate the game.”
Hamilton said with the ‘Noles starting the season at 1-5, he might need to adjustment. He has been reluctant to change the way he has coached since he can remember.
‘We’re thinking we might have to make some adjustments,” Hamilton said. “I don’t like playing zone. I don’t like walking the ball down the court and calling a bunch of plays. We definitely don’t want to play Pack Line defense.
“We’ve built our program on being aggressive offensively and always in attack mode, playing with tremendous energy and keeping everybody fresh, and unfortunately that’s not who we are.”
He’ll use the final two games of this tournament for further evaluation. The Seminoles play vs. Stanford, which lost to Ole Miss in Thursday’s second game.
Sienna plays Ole Miss at 11 a.m. Friday.
Ole Miss 72, Stanford 68: Freshman Amaree Abram scored a career-high 26 points on 12-for-18 shooting as the Rebels held off a late flurry from the Cardinal. Ole Miss never trailed but needed a clutch 3-pointer from Abram — who was 2-for-2 behind the arc — and 4 free throws by Jaemyn Brakefield in the final 30 seconds. Stanford was 10 down with less than three minutes to play.
Oklahoma 69, Nebraska 56: Tanner Groves scored a season-high 17 points, Jacob Groves added 16 and the Sooners beat their rival in the third of four games to open play. Oklahoma plays the winner of Seton Hall vs. Memphis, which wasn’t completed in time for this edition. Nebraska will face the loser. Result can be found at orlandosentinel.com/sports