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FSU Top Guns?

Leonard Hamilton’s teams have always defended well. What happens when one shoots brilliantly?

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NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Virginia
Dec 31, 2016; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Dwayne Bacon (4) makes the game winning three point field goal over Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) with two seconds left in the second half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Seminoles won 60-58.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Caveats: Still early in January. All but three games played against nonconference opponents. Eleven of the first 16 games at home. Only played on hostile courts twice.

The statistic: At the halfway point of the regular season, Florida State is leading the ACC in field goal accuracy, making 50.6 percent of its shots.

This is rather unusual in several respects.

FSU joined the ACC for the 1991-92 season. Over the intervening quarter century, only six teams paced the conference in field goal accuracy while hitting better than half of their shots.

Duke posted four of those marks, North Carolina one. Since 1999, a span of 17 years, only Notre Dame in 2015 made at least 50 percent of its field goals.

The sole season Florida State led the ACC in shooting acuity was 2014, when it made 46.6 of its shots. That was the third-lowest percentage to top the league since the Tallahassee school came on board.

While a member of the Metro Conference, FSU regularly made the majority of its field goal attempts, including four times in the decade before entering the ACC. Most recently, it hit at a .505 clip in 1989. Under Pat Kennedy, who commanded from 1987 through 1997, offense was a high priority. Under Leonard Hamilton, defense has been a trademark strength.

This year Florida State has made at least half its attempts from the floor in seven of 16 outings. Hosting Virginia Tech on Saturday, Hamilton’s club won 93-78. En route it hit 31 of 63 field goal tries, .492 accuracy. That dropped its year-long conversion rate to .5062 percent, still best in the conference.

Note that compared to the previous best field goal performances by FSU while in the ACC, this year’s group is attempting a notably high portion of its shots from 3-point range and making 37.5 percent.

Interestingly, no FSU player has made five shots per game; therefore none ranks among the ACC’s top 10 in field goal percentage. Five regulars are hitting better than 50 percent of their tries, led by Terance Mann’s .596 (56-94). The official stats may not reveal this prowess, but opponents certainly recognize it.

Best Season Field Goal Percentage by Florida State As ACC Membe
(2017 Accuracy Through Games of January
FG% FG-FGA Season 3FG-FGA 3% 3PG Games
.506 492-972 2017 114-304 .375 19 16
.495 1145-2315 1993 187-564 .332 16 35
.484 954-1970 1992 170-491 .346 15 32
.481 936-1947 2007 237-624 .380 18 35
.479 806-1681 2006 184-490 .376 16 30

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