TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida State basketball program, known for defense under coach Leonard Hamilton, is more offensive oriented this year.
The Seminoles average 73.3 points the first time they’ve averaged at least 70 points since the 2007-08 season. Hamilton’s teams have averaged more than 73 points just twice since he took over the program in 2002.
“Everybody thinks Florida State is defense, defense, but this year we’ve got it rolling on offense,” Florida State senior guard Ian Miller said. “I guess that shocks people still. But we can score the ball.
“Just as much as we have to defend (Duke), they’ve got to come out and defend us.”
The newfound offensive flow could lead to high-scoring affair when Florida State faces No. 18 Duke - the highest scoring team in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 81.8 points - on the road.
“They play a fast-paced offense and they like to play a fast-paced game and that’s what we love to do,” Miller said. “But the key is we’ve got quality depth. I don’t know how that’s going to work out for them. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Blue Devils are led NBA talents in 6-foot-8 freshman Jabari Parker (18.9 ppg) and sophomore Rodney Hood (17.6 ppg). Parker is widely considered a one-and-done NBA lottery pick.
“He is skilled and talented and smart enough to take the smaller guys inside and shoots over them,” Hamilton said, “and he out-moves the bigger guys. He’s been a tough matchup either way it goes.
The Seminoles are paced by Miller (13.3 ppg), Aaron Thomas (13.1) and Okaro White (12.3), though neither Miller nor Thomas are starters. Miller’s role is similar to that held by San Antonio Spurs forward Manu Ginobili - the sixth-man that is one of the team’s top scorers and is on the floor during crunch-time. He also compared the role to Jason Terry and James Harden - when Harden played in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Hamilton would like to see a more balance and get a little more production inside from the Seminoles, who’ve been hot from long-range. Florida State hit 24 of 40 3-pointers in its last two home games.
When the Seminoles get rolling offensively, it’s often Miller leading the way, including a buzzer-beater floater to beat Notre Dame with four seconds remaining this week.
“If I hit one and get going, it’s going to be a long night,” Miller said. “My thing is to remain aggressive, but remain smart. They’re going to pay attention to me, so get other people open.
“It might sound a little cocky, but when it comes to my role I just think - the get-it-done guy. My coaches respect and trust me to get it done offensively.”
The Seminoles will need much more than just Miller to upset the No.18 team in the nation. But Florida State can shoot the ball with the No. 3-ranked field goal percentage in the ACC. Duke is No.2 in the ACC.
“I think we can shoot with anybody in the country,” White said.