Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/29/12
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida State seems to be using a road map similar to last year, when it overcame a rocky start en route to the program's first Atlantic Coast Conference championship. But what will the final destination this year? FSU used a strong second-half performance Saturday to earn an 82-63 victory against Tulsa in the first game of the Orange Bowl Classic at the BB&T Center. The victory extended Florida State's winning streak to four games, which has followed a three-game losing streak. It also marked the second of five straight road games for the Seminoles (8-4). Last season, Florida State was 9-6 after dropping their ACC opener at Clemson. They ended up the regular season 21-9 (12-4 in the league) and captured the program's first ACC tournament title. A repeat this season currently seems to be a longshot, despite returning four of its top five scorers from last year's team and being ranked No. 25 in the preseason AP rankings. FSU will play at Auburn on Jan. 2 before starting ACC play at Clemson and Maryland. The Seminoles finally return home to play... North Carolina. "This is probably what we need, to be in unfriendly environments," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I think it's going to bring us closer together. We realize we have very little room for error now if we're going to have postseason opportunities." Hamilton, in his 11th year at Tallahassee, has taken the Seminoles the NCAA Tournament each of the past four years -- a streak could be jeopardy. The Seminoles won four in a row following an opening-season loss to South Alabama. Then came what could be a costly non-conference slide, with three home losses -- to Minnesota and Mercer... Mercer?... before being routed 72-47 by state rival Florida. A loss to Tulsa, coached by former Kansas star Danny Manning, would have been a fifth non-conference defeat. Can you say, "N-I-T?" Florida State led 36-33 at halftime, with Tulsa staying close thanks largely to Pat Swilling Jr.'s shooting (5 of 7) from 3-point territory. Florida State junior forward Terrance Shannon left the bench to provide 9 of his 16 points in the first half. He also finished with 10 rebounds. "When I went home over the break, I just spent more time running and getting in better condition," Shannon said. "In the second half of the season, we'll have to step it up and I want to be that driving force." Shannon's contribution was not lost on Manning. "He comes in with a great motor," the Hurricanes coach said. Despite Shannon's "motor," FSU led only by three points after 20 minutes. Whatever Hamilton told his team during intermission worked. FSU increased its defensive intensity increased, which helped create some easy baskets. Half-court sets flowed better and also resulted in hoops from in close. "Really, it was about us executing our stuff and reversing the ball a little bit more, give Tulsa a chance to break down, and we did a great job of that," senior guard Michael Snaer said. Snaer and Shannon join guard Ian Miller and forward Okaro White in forming a veteran nucleus. Miller sat Saturday with a bruised foot. Florida State's rotation, however, included freshman guards Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon, and 7-foot redshirt junior Kiel Turpin, a Division II transfer. "It's similar to last year, except his year we're a much younger team," Snaer said. "We still have guys trying to figure out their roles. I was trying to figure out my role, but I think I got it down. "The only problem we had early was our veteran guys didn't take up much of the slack when the young guys were trying to come along. We were putting too much pressure on them early." That pressure remains. Will the youngsters be up to the challenge? "We're still a work in progress," Hamilton said. "We're not anywhere close to being as sound in all areas as I know we're going to need to be if we're going to compete as well as we have in the past in the ACC."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Novak Djokovic could miss rest of season with elbow injury

Reggie Jackson praises, urges caution with Aaron Judge

Panthers QB Cam Newton shows up to camp in best shape of career

Yankees progressing on deal to acquire Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso

Report: Derrick Rose was unwilling to accept bench role with Lakers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Stephen Strasburg expected to make next start for Nats

John Lackey makes history, hits four batters in one game

Report: Suns G Brandon Knight suffers torn ACL

Cavaliers have one unhappy star and three options

Garrett walks out on media over Whitehead questions

D-Rose landing in Cleveland could be good for Cavs, himself

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

Every MLB team's best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

28 MLB trade deadline deal prospects since 2000 who went on to become All-Stars

Box Score 7/25: The pressure of the trade deadline is here

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker