TALLAHASSEE — Florida State redshirt freshman center Solomon Alabi looks to be growing up.
And his timing couldn't be better.
After missing most of last season with a leg injury, the 7-foot-1 native of Nigeria had his first double double with 16 points and 14 rebounds to go with six blocks — all career highs — to power the Seminoles to a 71-48 victory against Charleston Southern on Thursday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
"You got a little glimpse of what Solomon's capable of," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's come a long way from last year when he was struggling just to get up and down the court. … He's gaining confidence. He's becoming more comfortable."
Again, the timing is everything. The competition for the Seminoles (11-1) hits a new high with No. 3 Pittsburgh coming to town Sunday; it's the kind of nonconference game that could loom large for FSU come March.
"I would love to be a lot further along, but I'm not sure we could be a lot further along when we have so many youngsters growing and learning and trying to mesh," Hamilton said. "Sometimes it's not as much physical as it is mental and emotional, just learning the pace you have to go at on this level to be successful."
Though Toney Douglas struggled (five points on 2 of 11 shooting) and the Seminoles uncharacteristically misfired from the line (10 of 22), FSU used its size and strength to block 12 shots and limit the Buccaneers (5-5) to 18 of 56 shooting from the field.
On the other end, Alabi had a dunk and a layup in the opening minutes of the second half to blow open the game.
"It felt good," he said of his performance. "I just have to continue playing hard like that."