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Resurgence leads ‘Noles to title chase

January 27, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

TALLAHASSEE (AP) - There's nothing like a little experience to help out in tough times.

Florida State (15-5, 5-1 ACC) bounced back from one of its most disappointing losses in Leonard Hamilton's nine-year tenure to reel off four straight Atlantic Coast Conference wins, including one over previously unbeaten Duke.

It has vaulted the Seminoles into the Top 25 and left them positioned for a run at their first league title.

"We also know that it is only January and we want to continue to improve and be ranked in March," Hamilton said.

The 22nd-ranked Seminoles, the only team to defeat third-ranked Duke this season, look to build on their recent success Saturday when they visit Clemson.

The recent turnaround has been keyed by a suffocating defense and the improved play of point guard Derwin Kitchen and center Bernard James.

An unusually strong rebounder for a guard, the 6-foot-3 Kitchen scored 17 of his game-high 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Florida State's 66-61 upset of the Blue Devils on Jan. 12.

Then there is James, a military veteran and junior college transfer who has played almost flawlessly since moving into the starting lineup last month. He's shooting just over 68 percent for the season and averaging two blocked shots a game.

Florida State leads the nation in limiting opponents to 35 percent shooting and is sixth with an average of just over six blocked shots a game.



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