Florida State picked up its first ACC win of the season on Wednesday night, holding off rival Miami, 68-62. A big reason for that? The smallest scholarship player of the roster.
A transfer from Albany, senior David Nichols seemed to have had a tough time transitioning early on this season. Of late however, he’s been a major factor in FSU’s success and could be a key player as the season continues to wind down.
Over his first six games at FSU, Nichols averaged just 3.3 points per game on 27 percent shooting while going 0-for-10 from downtown. Since then, he’s averaged 11 points, shot 52 percent from the field and 17-for-33 from beyond the arc.
After not scoring in double-figures in his first eight games as a Seminole, Nichols has now done so five times in seven games, twice leading the team in scoring. After being named MVP of the Orange Bowl Classic on Dec. 22, Nichols led FSU with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting in Wednesday’s hard-fought win over Miami and was big down the stretch, making the leaner in the lane midway through the second half that put the Seminoles ahead for good.
Nichols has not been asked to carry the scoring load like he was at Albany and as a result, he’s shooting career-highs from the field and from beyond the 3-point line at 45 and 40 percent, respectively. The senior’s 7.9 points per game currently ranks fifth on the team. Over the last nine games, only Terance Mann has averaged more.
When Nichols transferred to FSU, he was needed to fill the void of C.J. Walker, who transferred to Ohio State. Nichols has provided a similar scoring output thus far in fewer minutes and has done so more efficiently as a scorer.
While Trent Forrest, Mann and Phil Cofer will likely be the main offensive players over the second half of the regular season, Nichols is quickly becoming an important compliment piece, particularly with his ability to stretch the floor. Only P.J. Savoy and M.J. Walker have made more 3s this season for FSU and only Mann — among qualified players — has shot a better percentage.