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FSU shows off depth in exhibition opener

Florida State’s absurd depth was on display as fans caught an early glimpse of the 2021-22 team.

Malik Osborne had a double-double — 16 points and 13 rebounds — and Rayquan Evans scored 17 points as Florida State routed Mississippi College 94-51 on Thursday in the Seminoles’ exhibition opener.

“Not bad for a first exhibition game,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We need to play against another opponent. I thought physically our effort was good. I think this team has potential but we are a long ways from being in sync.”

Osborne shot 6 of 9 from the floor and hit 2 of 3 shot from beyond the arc. He was energetic, as usual, showing an attitude as a rebounder and drilling jumpers. Osborne is aggressive on the glass and that could rub off on the 7-footers over the long haul. FSU’s bigs need to be more assertive on the glass. Still, FSU won the rebounding battle 44-33 over a much shorter Mississippi College.

Evans had an up-and-down 2020-21 season but opted to return for a second senior season, shooting 6 of 10 from the floor and 3 of 4 from long range.

“I felt like because of COVID there was a lot of delay, especially in my game and my growth,” Evans said. “It was a hard adjustment period for everybody, being locked up, having to miss two weeks for false positives and things like that. I felt like I didn’t get much out of my career last year. So being able to stay and develop under these coaches and be in this environment has not only helped me grow as a person but as a player.”

Even with Anthony Polite, Cam’Ron Fletcher and Naheem McLeod watching courtside, FSU showcased an absurd amount of depth. Eleven Seminoles scored.

FSU shot 38 of 62 (61.3 percent) from the floor and 8 of 19 from 3-point range (42.1 percent). The Seminoles were just 10 of 18 from the line. Quincy Ballard (who made two buckets from the floor) struggled at 0 for 4 from the line.

Not much of a stunner, but Matthew Cleveland and Jalen Warley did not seem overwhelmed by the moment in what was their first taste of college basketball. Cleveland scored eight points and tied a team-high with five assists. Warley had eight points and four rebounds.

Caleb Mills scored 11 points and was 5 of 6 from the floor with five assists and three rebounds.

John Butler Jr. has a smooth jumper. He had five points on 2 of 4 shooting. At 7-1 and 190 pounds he definitely needs to add weight but shows promise as a power forward.

Tanor Ngom scored 10 points and pulled down four rebounds.

Wyatt Wilkes scored 11 points but perhaps most impressively he did it on a night in which he was just 1 of 4 from 3-point range. Wilkes hit a variety of jumpers and was 4 for 4 from inside the arc.

FSU’s starters were Evans, Mills, Osborne, Ngom and Wilkes.

Injury update

Hamilton didn’t offer specifics about injuries but said all three players should be able to play in the second exhibition game.

Box score

A full box score can be viewed here.

Up next

FSU will play its second exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. against Florida College. This is the Aubry Boyd fundraiser game. The season opener is Nov. 10 against Penn at 9 p.m.

Tuck Talk

Enjoy the Tuck Talk season preview podcast as well as our interview with Harrison Prieto and Justin Lindner. Listen here.

Freshman guard Jalen Warley had eight points and four rebounds. (photo by Mike Olivella)