TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State raised its Atlantic Coast Conference championship banner before its season opener. Then the Seminoles took the floor and struggled in every way.
Antoine Allen hit four 3-pointers and scored 21 points to lead South Alabama to a 76-71 season-opening upset of No. 25 Florida State on Friday night.
Augustine Rubit added 12 points and Mychal Ammons had 11 points and 11 rebounds for South Alabama, which shot 9 of 15 from 3-point range.
“They were a little tougher than we were,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They played with a lot more maturity. They executed their game plan better than we did.”
The Seminoles had won 10 straight season openers coming into Friday’s game — every game since coach Leonard Hamilton arrived on campus. And Florida State had routed South Alabama 80-39 on Nov. 20, 2011, in Tallahassee.
But on Friday, Florida State struggled late in shooting just 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from the floor in the second half. The Seminoles also had 17 turnovers and just nine assists.
“They’re a very good team,” Allen said. “But we weren’t scared at all. We were ready for the challenge. We gave it our all for 40 minutes and we came out with the win.”
South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow credited a summer trip to Canada that gave the team extra practices and exhibition games for helping the team prepare for the season.
“Don’t let anybody underestimate those trips once every four years,” Arrow said. “We went on it, we got 10 extra practices, we got three games. You can’t coach experience. It just takes time to develop into it. Hopefully our guys know what it takes now and we just get better and better and better.”
Five Jaguars scored in double figures.
“It’s been a long time since we allowed five guys to score in double figures,” Hamilton said. “They were very on point with everything that they did.”
Terry Whisnant and Montay Brandon had 11 points apiece for the defending ACC champions. Senior guard Michael Snaer had 10 points at halftime but was held scoreless in the second half. He shot 2 of 11 in the game.
Terrance Shannon returned from a shoulder injury to score 10 points for Florida State. Shannon played in just seven games last season after having season-ending surgery in November.
“The biggest thing with us is we have to have a short-term memory,” Shannon said. “Put this game in the past and move on. We know we are young. We know it’s going to take time.”
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