Tue, 19 Jan 2021

Florida State faces North Florida in delayed opener

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2020, 10:19 GMT+10

It doesn't get any easier for the North Florida Ospreys.

North Florida (0-3) will travel to Tallahassee, Fla, on Wednesday night to face the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles. The Ospreys opened the season with two games in Raleigh, N.C., and one in Miami.

FSU has won 23 consecutive home games, astreak that began in January 2019.

This will be the season opener for the Seminoles, who are 5-0 all-time against North Florida, including a 98-81 victory last season.

The Seminoles, who finished 26-5 overall last season and won the ACC regular-season title (16-4), were ranked fourth in the nation when college basketball was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, FSU lost two if its stars to the NBA Draft as 6-8 forward Patrick Williams was selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls and 6-7 shooting guard Devin Vassell was taken 11th by the San Antonio Spurs. Williams left FSU as a freshman. Vassell left after his sophomore season.

Scottie Barnes, a 6-9 freshman forward, figures to be the Seminoles' next star. He is projected by numerous mock drafts to be a first-round pick in 2021, likely among the top dozen picks.

Barnes, without having played a game, is already one of 50 players in the country on the Naismith Award watch list.

Senior M.J. Walker, a 6-5 shooting guard, is projected as a second-round pick, and is also FSU's leading returning scorer (10.6). He also had a season-high 23 points against Louisville in January.

But while North Florida has played three games, the Seminoles' planned first game was canceled due to COVID-19 when Gardner-Webb opted out of Friday's scheduled opener. Thus, this will be FSU's latest starting date since 1975-1976.

"I expect some miscues," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "It's been a lot of starting and stopping, teaching and correcting. I'm hoping we can win games while we are learning and gelling."

North Florida, meanwhile, boasts 6-7 forward Carter Hendricksen, who leads the team in scoring (17.3) and minutes (33.3).

No other Osprey averages double figures in points. Jose Placer averages 8.7 points and leads the team in assists (4.3) and steals (1.3).

Josh Endicott leads the team in rebounds (6.5) while averaging 5.5 points.

The Ospreys led the nation in 3-pointers made, and they connected nine times in Sunday's first half against the Miami Hurricanes. However, the Ospreys made just three 3-pointers in the second half and lost, 77-59.

For the game, North Florida shot 12 of 40 on 3-pointers (30 percent).

"I'm really proud of our guys," Ospreys coach Matt Driscoll said. "We played three games in five days and traveled to North Carolina and then Miami, with quick turnarounds and different styles of play.

"The final score (against Miami), I don't think reflects how well our guys competed. ... We've gotten better over these three games, without a doubt."

--Field Level Media

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