Hofstra surprises Florida State 82-77 in Paradise Jam
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) After Hofstra left its chilly campus to go check out the tropics, Pride coach Joe Mihalich found himself worrying about the change of scenery causing a loss of focus.
''This place,'' Mihalich said, ''is almost too nice.''
His concerns were unneeded. His team was more than ready to get Hofstra's biggest win in years.
Brian Bernardi scored 24 points, and Hofstra had an answer to every Florida State rally on the way to stunning the Seminoles 82-77 on Friday in the opening round of the Paradise Jam. The Pride had lost their last 14 games going back to 2006 against teams from major conferences, and hadn't beaten an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 1998.
''It's great for our program,'' Bernardi said. ''We worked so hard this summer and it just means everything to us.''
Bernardi was 8-for-10 from the floor, 6-for-8 from 3-point range - and is now 14 of 21 from beyond the arc this season for the Pride (3-0), who are off to their best start since the 2004-05 club started 9-0. Juan'ya Green added 17 points and seven assists, Denton Koon had 15 points and Ameen Tanksley scored 14 for Hofstra, which saw its lead trimmed to a single point on three different occasions in the second half.
But Florida State (2-1) never got over the hump, and Hofstra led for the game's final 27 minutes.
''We have great respect for anybody we play,'' Mihalich said. ''But to play an ACC team like Florida State - not just an ACC team, but a good ACC team - to get a win like this ... quite frankly, this is probably the one we've been looking for to really get us over the hump.''
Malik Beasley led the Seminoles (2-1) with 25 points, 18 in the second half. He was 4-for-8 from 3-point range; the rest of the Seminoles were 2-for-17 from long range.
''You have to give Hofstra credit,'' Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. ''We had good looks at the basket, maybe better shots than what we had been making in our first couple of games. But you are going to have those nights. If we can learn from this - when our 3's are not falling we need to take the ball to the basket - we will continue to improve and become a good basketball team.''
Boris Bojanovsky and Devon Bookert each scored 11 for Florida State, which got 10 from Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The Seminoles started quickly and got out to a 12-6 lead, but the rest of the day belonged to Hofstra.
''Our guys, they want this kind of a challenge,'' Mihalich said. ''It's why they work so hard.''
Hofstra: The Pride had been 0-3 against Florida State. ... Temperature at game time on Hofstra's campus in Hempstead, New York: 49 degrees, or a mere 30 degrees chillier than what it was in the Virgin Islands. ... Hofstra had 12 steals, the most it has posted in any of its last 52 games going back to January 2014.
Florida State: The Seminoles scored 207 points in their first two games on 61 percent shooting; they shot 40 percent on Friday. ... Florida State has now dropped its last two contests against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association, after losing to Northeastern last November. ... The Seminoles had only nine assists, and they're now 1-9 in their last 10 games when they fail to have more than 10.
Hofstra: South Carolina in the Paradise Jam semifinals, Sunday.
Florida State: DePaul in the Paradise Jam consolation round, Saturday.