Florida State broke its four-game losing streak to open the season and will try to build some momentum against Siena in Thursday’s opening round of the ESPN Events Invitational at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Florida State (1-4), which lost its first four games for the first time since 1959, used a late 9-0 run to put away Mercer on Monday for an 81-72 win.
The short-handed Seminoles, plagued by numerous injuries, were led by Cam’Ron Fletcher’s 23 points and Matthew Cleveland’s 18 points.
Florida State entered averaging more than 13 turnovers per game, but cut that total to seven against Mercer while recording 11 blocks. Naheem McLeod, in his second game back from an injury, recorded five of those swats with eight points and nine rebounds.
“Our guys played with a little more energy consistently because I think they knew they could come out of the game and start developing a rotation,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Siena (2-2) will try to break its own early-season skid following back-to-back losses to Army and Harvard. The Saints will have to avoid two deficiencies which led to their most recent defeat when they turned the ball over 20 times and watched Harvard score 52 points in the paint during a 69-59 loss.
Not being able to take care of the ball or stop opponents inside would play into the strengths of Florida State, typically known for its defense and ability to score from close range. Those strengths are bolstered with McLeod back in the lineup.
Javian McCollum, who was held to only two points against Harvard, leads Siena in scoring with 15.8 points per game and 4.5 assists.
Andrew Platek (15 points) and Jackson Stormo (12 points), each of whom are averaging double figures in scoring, tried to pick up the slack against the Crimson but it wasn’t enough.
“I had an off game, but we’ve just got to come back next week,” McCollum said. “I’ve got to hit the gym and come back next week ready to win.”
–Field Level Media
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