TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton knew his team had Alabama A&M outmanned Thursday. What made him happy was that the No. 22 Seminoles played that way.
FSU won 81-34, allowing its fewest points at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles (12-2) especially smothered the Bulldogs in the second half, allowing just 10 points on 4-of-22 shooting.
Hamilton said Alabama A&M's offensive strategy could have made it tough for FSU to stick to its defensive goals. Yet the Seminoles, who lead the ACC in field goal percentage defense, stayed strong.
"They didn't intend to shoot the ball very much," Hamilton said. "They wanted to control the tempo, and it challenges your defensive principles when a team is playing the shot clock and moving the ball down."
The Bulldogs (3-5) kept it close in the first half thanks to turnovers and spotty shooting from the Seminoles. When Maurice Kemp's layup cut FSU's lead to 22-16 with 7:17 to go, Hamilton called a timeout.
After that, he said, the Seminoles started to come around.
"We were a little tentative in the first half, defensively and offensively," Hamilton said. "Once we called timeout and readjusted, I think our guys stayed pretty focused."
Evan Hilton's layup with 2:22 left in the first half was the last shot Alabama A&M made until Casey Cantey's 6:05 into the second. The Seminoles stifled the Bulldogs, forcing 22 turnovers and allowing them to shoot just 25.9 percent. FSU also dominated on the glass, outrebounding Alabama A&M 50-30.
"We wanted to impose our will with our size and athleticism," forward Xavier Gibson said. "We didn't want to let them be more excited than us about playing. We wanted to go faster and go harder."
It was the fewest points FSU allowed overall since beating Memphis 35-34 on March 2, 1979.
Deividas Dulkys led it with 19 points, tying a career high, and making 5 of 8 3-pointers.
Still, Hamilton said there remained room for improvement. The Seminoles, making just 63.4 percent of their free throws this season, hit just 61 percent Thursday. They also committed 20 turnovers, the fourth time this season they've lost 20 or more.
"Twenty turnovers is way too much," Hamilton said. "I thought we were a little nonchalant with the ball several times."