The Daily Nole

FSU Hoops: Savoy May Have Been the Missing Piece

Mike Olivella/FSU athletics

It seems like a good time to be a Florida State basketball fan. The Seminoles are 9-1 and winners of five straight with most of them coming in convincing fashion.

For the most part, success was expected for FSU during the 2016-17 season. The Seminoles have depth, size, athleticism and NBA talent. Over the last three games however, FSU might have found the one thing it seemed to be missing from the early parts of the season — a sharpshooter.

Enter junior college transfer and sophomore P.J. Savoy. After missing the first six games with turf toe, Savoy has become a dependable long-range threat for the Seminoles.

Savoy has led the team in scoring in each of the last two games — wins over Southern Mississippi and Nicholls — with 27 and 18 points, respectively and over the last three, has shot 15-for-28 from beyond the 3-point arc. Over that span, the Seminoles have doubled their total number of 3-point makes for the season from 39 in the first seven games to 78 total.

Savoy along with teammates Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac are all on pace to make more than 50 3-pointers this season while shooting better than 40 percent from deep. The Seminoles haven’t had a player make 50 or more 3-pointers and shoot 40 percent or better from downtown since Michael Snaer during the 2011-12 season.

While Bacon has improved tremendously as a shooter from last season, his strength is still attacking the basket. Isaac is also a player that can score in a number of ways. Both of those players stand to benefit tremendously from Savoy’s emergence.

If Savoy is as consistent a shooter as he’s shown to be over the last three games, teams will have to account for him at all times. That means less weak side help and fewer arms trying to strip the ball or alter the shot when Bacon or Isaac look to attack.

Although, the competition has been small and to some extent suspect, another noticeable area of improvement this season has been the post play of the Florida State bigs. Michael Ojo, a 7-1 graduate, and Christ Koumadje, a 7-4 sophomore, are each averaging 5.9 points per game and each are shooting better than 68 percent from the field.

With opposing defenses knowing Savoy is in the corner, it could mean fewer double-teams on the block. Savoy’s presence might not only make the Seminoles more dangerous on the outside, but could open things up for the FSU offense as a whole.

It’s unlikely that Savoy can continue to shoot at a 52 percent clip from deep, but his presence may change the way coaches prepare to stop the likes of Bacon, Isaac and Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

When Savoy came back from his injury, the Seminoles ranked just 11th among ACC teams in 3-point percentage. They now rank eighth. FSU was also just 13th in the conference is 3-pointers made. Now, only Notre Dame and Duke have made more. FSU also ranks in the top 75 nationally in both of those categories.

For the early parts of the season, most were aware of the Seminoles’ size, depth and talent, but if a basketball expert was asked what FSU’s biggest weakness was, he or she might have said 3-point shooting. With Savoy in the lineup, that’s no longer the case.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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