Florida State earned their 10th victory of the season on Tuesday night by defeating Tennessee Tech 69-59. The Seminoles were led by senior point guard Toney Douglas who scored a game-high 28 points.
While the Seminoles won by double digits, the victory didn't come easily. The game was tied 55-55 with 4:25 remaining. Behind five points from Derwin Kitchen in the closing minutes, Florida State finished the game out on a 14-4 run.
"Once again we made the plays we had to. When the game was on the line, I thought some of the same guys who maybe didn't play as well as we would like stepped up and made great plays which shows we are much more capable," head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We have to smooth this out and become a lot more consistent if we are going to be as successful as I think the potential of this team says we are capable of."
In addition to Douglas' strong night, the Seminoles got nine points apiece from Uche Echefu and Chris Singleton. But when it mattered most, Kitchen, a sophomore transfer playing in just his second game of the season, came up big. The junior college transfer finished with seven points, four assists, and three rebounds in 26 minutes.
"It makes all the difference in the world," Hamilton said of Kitchen's addition. "Having Derwin gives us that skill player that we have been missing. The guy who can break the defense down and can create easy opportunities for his teammates. He has those instincts that I think are going to help us from this point move on to hopefully a new, higher level."
The Seminoles were plagued throughout the game with turnover issues committing 14 in the opening half. They went into the locker room with a 32-31 lead behind 12 points by Douglas.
They finished the game with a season-high 24 turnovers which led to 22 points by the Golden Eagles. Jordan Demercy and Douglas each committed five turnovers leading the Seminoles.
"I think we were inventing ways to turn the ball over," Hamilton said. "It was a comedy of turnovers that I think was a result of just a total lack of concentration and valuing of the ball. I am just hoping we get all of these miscues out of our system. We have been able to dodge some bullets."
The 10-1 start ties the program's best start, marking the third time the Seminoles have lost just one of their first 11 games. They started 10-1 in both the 1988-1989 and 2003-2004 seasons. Florida State finished those seasons 22-8 and 19-14 respectively.
Florida State returns to action on Thursday night when they host Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by FSN-FL.