GAME NOTES: The Florida State Seminoles will try to remain unbeaten at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Tuesday night when they take on the Charlotte 49ers in a non-conference affair.
Charlotte has played very well this season, running out to a 7-2 record, with its early-season highlight coming in a championship run in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with wins over Kansas State (68-61), Northeastern (86-77) and then- nationally-ranked Michigan (63-61). The 49ers most recently conquered a road test at Appalachian State on Dec. 8, 77-59.
FSU had been losers of back-to-back road games at Florida (67-66) and Minnesota (71-61) before getting back on the winning track on Dec. 8 with a 77-53 home win over Jacksonville State. The Seminoles are now 6-3 on the season, including a perfect 3-0 at the Tucker Center.
The Seminoles defeated the 49ers in Charlotte last December, 79-76, to improve to 3-2 in the all-time series.
Despite the road atmosphere the last time out, the 49ers made easy work of Appalachian State in the 18-point victory by out-shooting it from the field, 50.8 percent to 32.8 percent. Mike Thorne, Jr. was the pace setter with 26 points, doing so on 12-of-18 from the field. Willie Clayton tallied a double- double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Terrence Williams and Shawn Lester netted 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Charlotte has gotten used to these types of well-rounded performances, as it shoots 45.5 percent from the field this season for 77.1 points per game, which is 7.3 points more than it allows. Despite coming off the bench in every game, Shawn Lester leads the team with 14.4 points per game. Thorne (12.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Willie Clayton (12.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg) have been a great duo in the frontcourt, while Pierria Henry (11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.0 rpg) and Williams (11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) round out a very deep team.
The Seminoles did what was expected of them against an inferior Jacksonville State squad in their latest game, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 81.5 percent from the free-throw line en route to the 24-point victory. Okaro White led the way with 17 points on 7-of-9 from the field (including 3-of-5 from 3-point range). Boris Bojanovsky scored 15 points, Montay Brandon put up 14 points and Aaron Thomas netted 12 points off the bench.
FSU has played very well on both ends of the floor this season, as it shoots just shy of 50 percent from the field for 76.8 points per game, while holding opponents to a lowly 38.1 percent shooting for 66.2 points per tilt. One of its biggest issues however, has been turnovers, as the team gives the ball away 16.6 times per outing. Much like Charlotte, FSU's top scorer comes off the bench, as Ian Miller scores 14.6 points per game on 48.2 percent field goal shooting. White (14.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) mans the paint, while Thomas, Brandon and Devon Bookert all score between 9.1 and 10.2 points per game.
In a showdown between two otherwise evenly-matched teams, Florida State gets the slight edge to come out on top thanks to its homecourt success.
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