SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ David Nichols scored a season-high 19 points off the bench and No. 11 Florida State shot a season-best 55 percent to bea Saint Louis 81-59 Saturday in the one-day Orange Bowl Classic.
The Billikens shot only 30 percent _ their season low, and the best effort yet for Florida State’s defense.
The Seminoles (11-1) won their sixth game in a row and matched the best 12-game record in school history. Saint Louis (8-4) suffered its most lopsided loss of the season.
Nichols went 7 for 11, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half and give the Seminoles a 40-25 lead. The margin stayed in double digits the rest of the way, peaking at 71-43 late in the second half.
Nichols helped the Florida State bench outscore Saint Louis’ reserves 43-13. Seminoles starter Terance Mann had 17 points, including a pair of dunks in the final 30 seconds.
The Seminoles made 10 of 18 3-pointers, including 4 of 7 by Nichols.
Javon Bess had 16 points and Carte’Are Gordon 14 for the Billikens. They finished with a season-low three 3-pointers on 14 attempts.
Saint Louis went more than seven minutes without a basket and fell behind 25-8 midway through the first half.
Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele had the play of the game when he scored on a twisting drive into the congested lane that ended with a one-handed back-to-the-rim shot off the glass.
Last year the Seminoles were unbeaten until they lost in the Orange Bowl Classic to Oklahoma State on a tip-in with six seconds left. They made sure there would be no upset this time, taking the lead for good in the game’s second minute.
The Seminoles are likely to climb to at least No. 10 next week, which would match their season high.
Florida State guard M.J. Walker, who has been nursing a sprained ankle, played the first 53 seconds but then left the game and didn’t return.
Florida State has a nine-day Christmas break before playing host to Winthrop on Jan. 1.
Saint Louis concludes its nnconference schedule by hosting Appalachian State on Dec. 30.