TALLAHASSEE — Apparently, the Florida State Seminoles who took the Donald L. Tucker Center floor Friday night were a figment of the college basketball universe's imagination.
One game after a stunning five-point loss at home to South Alabama, the Seminoles returned to action Monday with a 95-68 win over Buffalo the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament, showing the skills many believed existed during preseason.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton was pleased his team took a step in the right direction, but he knows that if it continues to play defense the way it has early on, this season could be long and arduous. The Bulls shot 50 percent against a defense that has ranked among the nation's best the past four years.
"As a coach, it's obvious to me that we have a long ways to go," Hamilton said. "We still have the makings of a pretty good team, but right now, we're a team that's young, inexperienced and talented that has a lot of different areas that we need to improve in."
The Seminoles' improved play followed a players-only meeting and workout Sunday. Veterans such as Michael Snaer and former Clearwater High standout Okaro White were upset by Friday's performance. In the words of junior Terrance Shannon, the team's elder statesmen were "embarrassed."
"We had a heart-to-heart," White said. "We let down the guys who helped build the Florida State legacy. To come out on the first home game of the season, it was embarrassing. That will stick with us all season."
Snaer said: "This is a learning curve that we are trying to go through."