Florida State men's basketball falls to Troy, starts 0-3 for first time under Leonard Hamilton

Ehsan Kassim
Tallahassee Democrat

The struggles for the Florida State men’s basketball team continued Monday.

Troy defeated the Seminoles 79-72 at Donald L. Tucker Center. 

FSU (0-3) has lost its first three games of the season for the first time since the 2001-02 season and for the first time under head coach Leonard Hamilton.

The Trojans (3-0) shot 42% from the field, connecting on 12 3-pointers in the victory and using an 8-0 run in the final couple of minutes to put the game away.

Darin Green Jr. led the Seminoles with 24 points, including seven three-pointers. His seven threes tied a career-high. 

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Cam’Ron Fletcher added career-highs in 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Caleb Mills finished with 14 points and four assists. It was the first career double-double for Fletcher.

Aamer Muhammad led the way with 23 points for Troy, connecting on five three-point shots. Christyon Eugene added 22 points, while Kieffer Punter added 10 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Florida State turned the ball over 19 times, including 11 of them in the first half. 

The Seminoles took their first and only lead of the second half at 50-48 with just over 14 minutes left. The Trojans responded with a 12-2 run to push the lead back to eight and controlled the game the rest of the way.

Troy is now 2-9 all-time against FSU, with the Trojans last defeating FSU 49-48 on Jan. 30, 1948.

The Trojans entered the game tied for 10th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 91.5 points per game.

Here are three takeaways from the third straight loss for the Seminoles.

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Turnovers and free throws upend the Seminoles

Florida State struggled with turnovers early, with 11 of them in the first half, but the team also struggled with turnovers down the stretch.

After a Mills layup cut the Troy lead to 64-61 with 4:24 left in the game, the Seminoles collected a stop on the defensive end, but Fletcher threw an errant pass that went out of bounds.

Following another FSU defensive stop, Eugene stole the ball from Jalen Warley and then hit a three-point shot to push the lead to 67-61 with 2:58 left. 

It was all Trojans from there.

"I thought when the game was on the line, we made some ill-advised turnovers," Hamilton said. ...

"We turned the ball over 19 times. They turned it over 10 times, we give them that many more possessions."

The Trojans attempted 65 field goals to FSU's 44.

In addition to the turnovers, the Seminoles shot 23 of 33 (69.7%) from the free throw line, including 15 of 22 (68.2%) in the second half.

Hamilton said his team shoots well on free throws during practice, but it has been a struggle in games.

"I thought we'd be one of the best free throw shooting teams that I've had," Hamilton said. "I'm a little disappointed in that area. I am glad to see us being aggressive and at least getting to the foul line. We have a lot of things we need to improve on."

Short bench

FSU also only had seven available scholarship players.

Center Naheem McLeod (ankle), forwards Jaylan Gainey (season-ending knee injury), Baba Miller (16-game suspension) and De’Ante Green (knee injury), and guards Chandler Jackson (broken thumb) and Jeremiah Bembry (undisclosed injury) were out for various reasons.

The seven scholarship players were the only ones to see minutes Monday. Freshman Tom House only played seven minutes. Matthew Cleveland fouled out with five minutes remaining in the second half, finishing with only three points in 26 minutes.

Green and Fletcher each played 36 minutes, while Cameron Corhen played 34 minutes, Mills 32 and Warley 31.

"This is what it is. We played basically six players," Hamilton said. "But that's who we are. I wish I could tell you something different. We just have to find wins with the guys we have and we have to overcome fatigue."

Hamilton was noncommittal on if he'd have more players available Friday against Florida, saying he would leave the determination up to team doctors.

He did say the team could look to play more zone defense moving forward with the short bench. But it did not make sense against a team like Troy, which was shooting 40% from 3-point range.

Big performance from Darin Green Jr.

One of the bright spots for the Seminoles was the continued strong play of the UCF transfer. Following a 17-point performance against his former school last week, Green scored 24 points against Troy.

He connected on seven of the nine 3-point shots he took, including five in the second half. The seven three-point shots tied a career-high for him (against Michigan on Dec. 30, 2020).

Green also added six rebounds and two assists and hit 3-of-4 shots from the free throw line.

"I was glad to see Darin get his confidence back," Hamilton said. "He's shooting the ball the way we know he is capable of."

Up next

FSU hosts rival Florida at home at 8 p.m. Friday, and then Mercer comes to Tallahassee to play the Seminoles at 6:30 p.m. Monday. 

Reach Ehsan Kassim at or follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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