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Florida State cruises over Charlotte 106-62

By Kareem Copeland

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Aaron Thomas scored a career-high 26 points as Florida State cruised to a 106-62 victory against Charlotte.

The last time Florida State scored 100 points was a 108-73 win against Campbell in Dec. 22, 2005.

Shawn Lester led the 49ers (7-3) with 16 points as Pierria Henry chipped in 13 and Willie Clayton finished with 11 points. Both Henry and Clayton were ejected in the second half; Henry for two technical fouls after a power dunk over Michael Ojo and Clayton for a flagrant-2 foul.

The Seminoles had six players score double-figures, including 18 points in 18 minutes by Ian Miller.

The win was the second in a row for the Seminoles after losing 3-of-4 on a road trip that included losses to Michigan, No. 16 Florida and Minnesota.

The Seminoles (7-3) play UMass in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. on Saturday as the 49ers host USC.

"We had a tremendous amount of respect for Charlotte's team," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We had to rise to the occasion.

"Tonight our guys played exceptionally well. . This team brought the best out of us tonight."

The Seminoles, arguably, played their most complete game of the season. They dominated Charlotte from the opening tip by jumping out to a 22-5 lead with 11:58 left in the first half. A 3-0 start accounted for the 49ers' only lead of the game.

Florida State was aggressive in transition with 10 points during that early run, punctuated by a Thomas break-away dunk off a full-length pass from Okaro White, who scored 14 and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Charlotte was sloppy with the ball and committed 19 turnovers with many leading to transition basketball. Florida State scored 14 points off the fast break while Charlotte managed just two.

The long-ball fell as the Seminoles shot 9-for-22 from behind the arc, including back-to-back triples from White and Montay Brandon for Florida State's first points of the game. The nine 3-point baskets were the season-high.

The rebounding may have been most the most surprising. The 49ers featured the No. 10 rebounder in the NCAA in Willie Clayton, but Charlotte was outrebounded by 15 in the first half. Florida State finished the game with a 45-33 edge.

The 49ers were never in contention after the Seminoles' initial push. They shot 35 percent from the field and were 1-for-7 from behind the arc in the second half while trying to rally. Frustrations rose in the second half as Henry picked up two technical fouls after dunking on Florida State 7-foot-3 center Michael Ojo. He picked up the first technical trash talking Ojo, then he wouldn't stop as officials stepped in.

Updated December 17, 2013

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