Final Score: Florida 72, Florida State 47
Twitter recap: UF in control from get-go, dominates paint. Balanced team effort. FSU commits 22 turnovers (many unforced), struggles w/Gators pressure D.
Dominating the middle. The thought of Florida State getting pushed around inside is almost blasphemous considering how sturdy the Seminoles were in the frontcourt just last season. But Bernard James and Xavier Gibson are around no longer, thus exposing Leonard Hamilton’s team to bigger and tougher teams in the paint. Florida controlled the game down low, using a steady diet of Patric Young early with help from Erik Murphy, Will Yeguette and a thunderous slam by Casey Prather. Young and Yeguette, in particular, were too strong and quick for FSU’s flimsier and less mobile interior defense [relative to last season]. These aren’t your older brother’s Noles. This version is awfully vulnerable inside.
Giveaways. Florida State has enough difficulty putting the ball in the basket on clean possessions. When it’s committing silly turnover upon silly turnover against an opportunistic opponent, 72-47 happens. The Noles coughed up the ball a dozen times in the first half—several occurring in the backcourt and leading to easy scores. One guy wasn’t to blame, either. Six different FSU players turned the ball over at least three times on Wednesday, lending more credence to the belief that the school needs more than just a “pure” point guard. Coach Hamilton needs more adept, even capable, ball-handlers.
Florida D. Coming into the night, the Gators owned the number two scoring defense in college basketball and the No. 9 team defense in terms of forcing turnovers. Those rankings shouldn’t change much after tonight. On the surface, Billy Donovan’s 2-3 zone is unsuspecting, giving the appearance of a conservative defense. Don’t tell that to UF’s opponents thus far. These Gators know how to parlay that possum look into turnovers and points.
Boynton absent again. The fabulous senior didn’t make a shot from the floor in the first half and struggled once again with his outside touch. Boynton finished the night 1-of-8 from long-range, where he’s shooting 1-of-13 over his last two games. The preseason All SEC first-teamer has been inconsistent thus far this season. It hasn’t mattered. The Gators have bludgeoned solid competition have with and without him. Let that marinate.
Shannon re-injures shoulder. The junior forward who missed most of last season due to shoulder surgery left Wednesday’s contest to have his shoulder checked out. He would later return, but was not a factor thereafter (to be fair, he wasn’t before the injury either). This is a story worth monitoring over the next few days. The Noles can ill-afford to lose Shannon again given the offensive struggles and frontcourt question marks.
Andrew Wiggins in the house…regrettably. The top high school hoops prospect and son of former Seminole athletes Mitchell and Marita, Wiggins was in town on an official visit and on-hand to witness the demolition. Co-favorites Kentucky and Florida State have been on equal footing in this recruitment, though that may change if Wiggins values what he saw in person on Wednesday night. There are three possible ways the Canadian prep star could have viewed this game: 1) Get me out of here and never let me come back; 2) Dang, these guys really need me; or 3) Forget the game, look at those cheerleaders! If 1) prevails, you’ll see the Canadian phenom in Lexington next season. If 2) wins out, he’ll be back in Tallahassee to ensure Florida State doesn’t have to experience a similar performance. If 3) tips the scales, well, who could blame him?