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Slumping Florida State opens homestand against SMU

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After a promising start, Florida State saw its season take a turn for the worse.

The Seminoles (4-4) are riding a three-game losing streak as they open a seven-game homestand with a game against SMU on Saturday night in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Seminoles got off to a 2-0 start but have only wins over UNLV and then-No. 18 Colorado over their past five outings. They lost close games to Georgia, 68-66; and at North Carolina, 78-70; but absorbed an 88-72 pounding by South Florida last weekend in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla.

Their other defeat was 89-68 at Florida a month ago.

Florida State’s Jamir Watkins (team-leading 13.8 points per game) scored a team-high 15 points against the Bulls, but No. 2 scorer Darin Green Jr. (12.8) had only one basket, a 3-pointer, after scoring 33 points his previous two games combined.

“This team has been consistently inconsistent,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said, according to the Miami Herald, after the loss to South Florida. “This year, we’ve struggled trying to find that mental and emotional level that it takes to compete with the talent that we have.”

Some additional firepower may be coming against the Mustangs. Transfer Primo Spears is available because of a restraining order issued by a judge in West Virginia, temporarily suspending the NCAA rule that requires players making a second transfer to sit out a year.

A junior guard, Spears transferred from Georgetown where he averaged 16 points and 5.3 assists per game last season. He began his collegiate career at Duquesne.

No announcement was made regarding whether he would play.

SMU (6-4) is coming off a nine-day layoff after losing at Arizona State its latest outing. The 76-74 setback was the Mustangs’ second two-point loss in a three-game span, as they also fell 65-63 against Dayton.

Zhuric Phelps leads the Mustangs with a 16.1 scoring average after matching his season high with 24 points and grabbing nine boards against the Sun Devils. Coach Rob Lanier praised the junior guard for his play in stepping up as a team leader.

“It’s been consistent now since the West Virginia game,” Lanier said on his postgame radio show. “His disposition has been good. He can make better decisions, but I like the aggression. I’m proud of his growth.”

–Field Level Media

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