4:30 PM ET, November 24, 2011
Chris Singleton was a major contributor as Florida State led the nation in field-goal defense in each of the last two seasons. Even without the first-round NBA pick, the Seminoles are still making it tough for their opponents to score.Massachusetts is having a similar strong start on the defensive end.The 22nd-ranked Seminoles and Minutemen each try to open 5-0 on Thursday when they meet in the opening round of the eight-team Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.Singleton, who left Tallahassee after his junior season and was drafted 18th overall by the Washington Wizards, left a major hole in coach Leonard Hamilton's lineup. Singleton was the runner-up for ACC defensive player of the year last season after winning the honor in 2009-10.Florida State limited its opponents to 37.7 percent shooting two years ago and 36.3 last season.That percentage has dipped to 33.2 in 2011-12 after the Seminoles held South Alabama to 23.5 percent shooting -- 0 for 24 from 3-point range -- in Sunday's 80-39 home win."I love looking at the opponents at the end of a game and seeing them tired and frustrated," junior forward Terrance Shannon said. "We try to frustrate our opponents by playing good team defense."The Minutemen have also been active on defense, forcing 21.0 turnovers per game. They scored 28 points off 23 Boston College giveaways in Monday's 82-46 road win.It was Massachusetts' most lopsided victory since beating La Salle 100-63 on March 5, 2008."Most people look at us as a shooting team, but we're more of a defensive team," redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams said.Still, Williams has helped turn the Minutemen into a serious offensive threat. The Hofstra transfer is averaging team highs of 17.3 points and 8.0 assists, and Massachusetts is scoring 82.3 points per game -- 16.0 more than in 2010-11.Six players are averaging at least 7.5 points after three did last season."We don't have one clear-cut star like we did last year (with leading scorer Anthony Gurley) -- it's more of a team effort this year," guard Freddie Riley said Monday after scoring a season-best 14 points.Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg hopes that Riley's effort -- the junior had 16 points on 7-of-31 shooting in the first three games -- will give the Florida State backcourt of Luke Loucks and Michael Snaer another concern."We've played pretty well without making many 3s from our two-guard spot, so that gives you one more weapon that teams have to worry about, instead of just saying 'just let him shoot,'" Kellogg said.The Minutemen better keep their eye on Loucks, who scored a team-high 18 points Sunday."I could tell from the first few plays that their game plan was, 'Don't help on him because he's going to pass,'" said Loucks, who played a season-high 32 minutes with senior Jeff Peterson sidelined with a sprained knee. "I don't feel like they were disrespecting me, but anytime their defense is geared toward my passing you got to be aggressive and make them pay."The Seminoles have had a different leading scorer in each game.Florida State snapped a three-game skid to Massachusetts with a 73-63 victory in Tallahassee on Feb. 12, 2006.The winner of this contest plays Utah or Harvard in the second round Friday.
|Avg Points Allowed||71.9||62.9|
|» Nov 24, 2011||@FSU 73, UMASS 53||Recap|