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FSU routs Penn in college basketball opener; Gators up next

Malik Osborne recovers from an illness to score 18 and grab a career-best 13 rebounds for the No. 20 Seminoles.
Florida State guard Anthony Polite drives to the basket against Pennsylvania center Max Lorca-Lloyd during Wednesday's game.
Florida State guard Anthony Polite drives to the basket against Pennsylvania center Max Lorca-Lloyd during Wednesday's game. [ MARK WALLHEISER | AP ]
Published Nov. 11
Updated Nov. 11

TALLAHASSEE — Coach Leonard Hamilton said in the days leading up to Florida State’s opener that Malik Osborne would likely be limited because of flulike symptoms that had forced him to miss the team’s second exhibition game on Friday.

Osborne instead looked energetic from the start Wednesday night.

He scored 18 points and had a career-best 13 rebounds, Anthony Polite scored 17 points, and No. 20 FSU won its seventh straight home opener, routing Pennsylvania 105-70.

Up next for the Seminoles is a trip to Gainesville for Sunday afternoon’s matchup against rival Florida.

Osborne recorded his fourth career double double and third at FSU. The 6-foot-9 forward shot 4-of-6 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line in 22 minutes, spending much of the game playing center as the Seminoles went with a smaller lineup.

“We needed for him to perform well,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been practicing him at the power forward all year. He has not played the 5 position (center) very much at all. He just moved over and adjusted and gave us a big-time game.”

Osborne said he was determined to play in his final home opener. The senior was able to return for two days of practice leading up to the Penn game.

“I’m going to be on that court,” he recalled telling teammates. Osborne scored the most points since his transfer from Rice following the 2017-18 season.

The Seminoles showed some promising early chemistry between their veterans, transfers and freshmen.

Senior guard Rayquan Evans added 14 points and four assists, while Houston transfer Caleb Mills scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half in his debut with the Seminoles. Mills shot 6-of-13 from the floor while adding five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“He definitely impresses me with his defensive side,” Osborne said of Mills. “He has unlimited energy, impressive quickness.”

Cam’Ron Fletcher, a transfer from Kentucky, had nine points and five steals.

Jordan Dingle had 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting while Jonah Charles and Clark Slajchert added 12 points apiece for Penn.

FSU is 44-2 at home since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Osborne scored 17 and pulled down eight rebounds while Fletcher scored nine points and had a career-high five steals to help FSU to a 51-39 halftime lead. The Seminoles had 10 first-half steals, helping to produce 23 points off turnovers.

They began by shooting 3-of-13 from the floor, but they shot 14-of-21 the rest of the first half.

FSU, which also had 15 steals, finished 49.3 percent overall and 31.8 from 3-point range, while holding Penn to 39.7 percent shooting.

The Seminoles also picked up their first win over an Ivy League school. They had gone 0-3 versus Princeton and 0-1 versus Harvard.

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By BOB FERRANTE

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