South Alabama-Florida St. Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- Florida State continues to find new options in its frontcourt.
The 25th-ranked Seminoles will try to finish their opening homestand undefeated when they host South Alabama on Sunday.
So far Florida State (3-0) has showed no signs of missing Chris Singleton, last season's leading scorer and rebounder, who got drafted by the NBA's Washington Wizards. The Seminoles have had excellent play inside by Bernard James, Terrance Shannon and - in their last game - Okaro White.
The 6-foot-8 White, a sophomore who totaled seven points in his first two games, scored 18 in a 79-66 win over Stetson on Wednesday. James added 15 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
Florida State scored 48 points in the paint and held the Hatters to 37.3 percent shooting. Although challenged by the quicker Stetson guards, the Seminoles' defense and size continued to be too tough for early-season opponents to handle.
Their first three opponents have shot 36.8 percent from the field, and Florida State has outrebounded all three teams it has faced.
"We want to go as big as possible to take advantage of our size and athleticism," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We are a team that throws the ball inside to be effective but for us to do that we must have consistent ball movement and execution."
South Alabama (1-1), which opened the season Nov. 12 with an 80-65 loss at Mississippi State, needed a game-ending 19-4 run Wednesday to defeat NAIA Mobile 74-63.
The Jaguars, out of the Sun Belt Conference, shot 39.6 percent but held Mobile to one field goal in the final 11 minutes.
Augustine Rubit finished with 18 points - thanks to a 10-for-12 effort at the free-throw line - and had 14 rebounds.
"I thought tonight, he had an off night, but he wound up with 18 points and 14 rebounds," coach Ronnie Arrow said. "I hope he has that every night. I just got through telling him that I thought he played tired. He had a lot of guys around him, but I'm glad that we had him on our team."
Like Florida State, South Alabama's strength lies in its frontcourt, led by Rubit, who averaged 13.1 points and 11.0 rebounds last season and had 14 double-doubles. The sophomore had 16 points and nine rebounds in the Jaguars' season opener.
However, South Alabama doesn't have the size Florida State does, with only one player taller than 6-foot-6, which could make it difficult to defend the 6-foot-10, 240-pound James.
The Seminoles are 9-2 all-time against the Jaguars, winning three straight including an 83-52 victory in 2004, the most recent meeting.
South Alabama won its last game against a ranked team, upsetting No. 18 Florida 67-66 on the road in 2009.
Updated November 19, 2011