Mann helps steer Semi­noles to win

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Safid Deen

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE – The Florida State men’s bas­ket­ball team may of­ten be re­minded about play­ing for the first time in three years with­out a clear-cut NBA prospect dur­ing the 2017-18 cam­paign.

But if for­ward Ter­ance Mann can sus­tain his sea­son-open­ing per­for­mance over the course of his ju­nior year, the con­ver­sa­tion topic may change for the Semi­noles.

Mann made his first seven shots, fin­ish­ing with 17 points and eight re­bounds, as Florida State (1-0) ex­tended the na­tion’s fifth­longest home win­ning streak to 22 games with an 87-67 win over Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity at the Don­ald L. Tucker Cen­ter on Tues­day night.

FSU head coach Leonard Hamil­ton, en­ter­ing his 16th sea­son with the pro­gram, will con­tinue to harp about his team’s ne­ces­sity to win by com­mit­tee af­ter the de­par­tures of NBA rook­ies in Magic for­ward Jonathan Isaac, Hor­nets guard Dwayne Ba­con and Knicks G-League guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

But the Semi­noles be­lieve, with time, their de­vel­op­ing group of play­ers vaunted into sub­stan­tial roles can make some noise in the ACC this sea­son de­spite be­ing pro­jected to fin­ish eighth among 15 teams dur­ing the pre­sea­son.

“There’s no doubt his role is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent,” Hamil­ton said of Mann. “He was at­tack­ing the bas­ket. He also has im­proved his perime­ter shoot­ing … what we need from him and our en­tire team is to be con­sis­tent with the ex­e­cu­tion.”

FSU used tena­cious de­fense to speed up the pace and score in bunches against GW, mak­ing 12 of its first 17 shots, fin­ish­ing at 55.9 per­cent from the field, with 52 points in the paint. The Semi­noles also forced 19 turnovers against the Colo­nials.

“They’re length and ath­leti­cism, you can repli­cate with walk-ons in prac­tice. It’s some­thing you have to face,” Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton coach Mau­rice Joseph said. “… When you’re scor­ing so many points in the paint and they can set their pres­sure it, it al­lows them to force 19 turnovers.”

The recipe for suc­cess was sim­i­lar to a sea­son ago where the Semi­noles went un­de­feated in all 18 home games and ex­tend­ing a home win­ning streak that be­gan against Notre Dame on Feb. 27, 2016.

The home suc­cess led to a sec­ond-place fin­ish be­hind North Carolina in the ACC stand­ings last sea­son and the pro­gram’s first trip to the NCAA Tour­na­ment in five years un­der Hamil­ton, which seven play­ers ex­pe­ri­enced first­hand.

While the streak and tour­ney bid sets a bar for the young group of Semi­noles, play­ers could have trou­ble at times con­tend­ing in the ACC be­cause of their col­lec­tive in­ex­pe­ri­ence.

But not dur­ing the team’s fifth con­sec­u­tive sea­sonopen­ing win.

Mann, FSU’s most ex­pe­ri­enced re­turn­ing player be­hind se­nior for­ward Phil Cofer, led the de­fen­sive ef­fort guard­ing GW’s ball­han­dler up the court most of the night and get­ting to the bas­ket at will on the of­fen­sive end.

Mann fin­ished 8 of 10 from the field, miss­ing his first shot with less than five min­utes re­main­ing, but was FSU’s most ef­fec­tive player on both sides of the floor, adding four of­fen­sive re­bounds and two as­sists.

“I just did what I was sup­posed to do,” Mann said. “I let the game come to me, and I didn’t force any­thing. I was just out there be­ing me.”

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