Florida State opened the 2021-22 season by putting on a show at home in front of the largest crowd at the Donald L. Tucker Center since the Seminoles dropped an ACC championship banner in March 2020.
Malik Osborne scored 18 points and pulled down a career-best 13 rebounds, while Anthony Polite added 17 points and six rebounds as Florida State routed Penn 105-70 to claim its seventh straight home opening game.
Osborne shot 4 of 6 from the floor and 9 of 12 from the free-throw line, returning to the court after missing FSU’s second exhibition game with flu-like symptoms. He looked energetic from the start in recording his fourth career double-double and third at Florida State.
“We needed for him to perform well,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We’ve been practicing him at the power forward all year. He has not played the 5 position very much at all. He just moved over and adjusted and gave us a big-time game.”
Osborne said he had two days of practice leading up to the opener against Penn. But after recovering from the flu he was determined and told teammates: “I’m going to be on that court.”
Rayquan Evans added 14 points and four assists, while Caleb Mills scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half in his first game at FSU. Mills shot 6 of 13 from the floor, while adding five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“We tried to recruit Caleb out of high school,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately he made a decision before he visited us. His defensive skills have been a surprise.”
Said Osborne of Mills: “He has unlimited energy, impressive quickness.”
Florida State is 44-2 at home since the start of the 2018-19 season. An official attendance was not available but the crowd appeared to be about 7,000, including a sold-out student section.
Osborne scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Cam’Ron Fletcher scored nine points and had a career-high five steals to help FSU to a 51-39 halftime lead. FSU had 10 first-half steals, helping to produce 23 points off turnovers.
The Seminoles opened up 3 of 13 from the floor, likely too fired up for the home opener and misfiring. But from that point until halftime, they settled in and shot 14 of 21 from the floor.
Freshman Matthew Cleveland had nine points and five rebounds. Thirteen Seminoles scored points.
FSU shot 37 of 75 (49.3 percent) from the floor and 7 of 22 (31.8 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Jordan Dingle had 23 points on 8 of 15 shooting and Jonah Charles added 12 points for Penn.
The win marked the first by an FSU team over an Ivy League school in five matchups, although its the first since a triple-overtime loss to Princeton in 2011 in Tallahassee.
Penn: The Quakers tried to keep up by making 3-pointers but fell behind late in the first half and were undone by 26 turnovers.
Florida State: The Seminoles shook off a sluggish start, showed off their newcomers and recorded 15 steals.
The full box score can be viewed here on Seminoles.com.
The Seminoles play at Florida on Sunday (1 p.m. on ESPN).