No. 14 Florida State looks to stay unbeatable at home
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida State men's basketball team is once again enjoying early season success with wins over rival Florida at home and Tulane on the road.
And as a result, the Seminoles (2-0) were rewarded recently by Associated Press Top 25 voters, who bumped Florida State up from No. 17 to No. 14 this past week.
Next up, the Seminoles return to their home floor Monday after an eight-day layoff since their last game -- an 89-69 victory against the Green Wave -- to face Canisius (1-1), which is coming off a 75-66 loss to Albany on Saturday in the opening game of the AdvoCare Invitational.
"We were able to come away with a nice road victory against a team that I think is much improved since last year," Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said of the win against Tulane. "I thought we had an excellent game plan strategy."
The Golden Griffins liked their strategy in their last game too -- it just didn't translate to a win like they got in their season opener against Bucknell.
"I think we learned a lesson in how hard you have to compete, and how hard you have to play," Golden Griffins head coach Reggie Witherspoon told the school's official website after Saturday's loss. "You have to do that on an everyday basis so that it becomes a habit. If you're not willing to go there, you're going to have a problem. We went there, but then we got uncomfortable, so we backed out of that mode."
The game between the Seminoles and the Golden Griffins is the opening game for both teams of the AdvoCare Invitational, which continues this weekend at the HP Fieldhouse at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Florida State and Canisius haven't played since the 1974-75 season, and their all-time series stands at 1-1. The two teams last met in consecutive seasons - 1973-74 (a 91-74 Florida State win) and 1974-75 (an 81-75 Canisius win).
Leading Florida State in scoring through two games is senior guard P.J. Savoy, who is averaging 17 points an outing -- thanks to a scorching 61 percent from 3-point range. The Seminoles also have two other players averaging double figures: Forward Terance Man (15 points per game) and guard Trent Forrest (13 points per game).
Canisius is led by one of the highest-scoring players in the country, guard Takal Molson, who is averaging a staggering 24.5 points a game.
Beating the Seminoles on their home floor will be a tall order for the Golden Griffins. Florida State enters Monday's game as the winningest team in the NCAA on its home court in the last two seasons. With 32 wins in its last 34 games played in the Donald L. Tucker Center during the 2016-17 (18-0 record), the 2017-18 season (13-2) and the 2018-19 season (1-0), Florida State is nearly impossible to beat there.
Following Monday's game against Canisius, the Seminoles will play UAB in the second round of the AdvoCare Invitational on Thursday in Orlando.
Florida State's third-round game on Friday will be against either College of Charleston or LSU.
The Golden Griffins' next game in the Invitational is also Thursday as they face No. 8 Villanova, followed by a Friday matchup against either Memphis or Oklahoma State.
Updated November 19, 2018