For the third straight year, a basketball game between Florida and Florida State came down to the final possession. For the second straight year, FSU pulled it out &mdash but at least it was a Seminole who made it happen this time.
Freshman Dwayne Bacon hit a midrange jumper with 4.6 seconds left to put Florida State up after a furious Gators rally to tie the game late, and Chris Chiozza's game-winner drew only backboard, dooming Florida to a 73-71 defeat.
The Gators' success in the game came from feeding freshman KeVaughn Allen, who was beyond brilliant all night. He poured in 32 points, more than doubling his career high and coming within six points of the program's all-time single-game record for a freshman. But Allen missed a wide-open three in the final minute with the game tied, part of a terrible 4-for-25 night beyond the arc for the Gators.
And he got little help from his more seasoned teammates. Dorian Finney-Smith had 10 points, including a clutch three and a game-tying basket late, but made just three of 11 field goals. That was the best performance by a Gators starter outside Allen, too: No other Florida starter had more than six points, and Chris Chiozza and Devin Robinson each made just two of seven shots. Kasey Hill had 10 points off the bench and made two crucial free throws in the final stretch, but he also had five turnovers to just two assists.
Against a Florida State team that could rely on Bacon (24 points), Malik Beasley (10), and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (11) to create their own shots and offense, and made more than 40 percent of its threes despite making under 30 percent of its triples coming in, feeble offense doomed the Gators to their second straight loss in the series, a first at home since 2007.
Florida finishes the traditional portion of its non-conference schedule (a game with West Virginia in late January remains) at 8-4, with losses to three top-20 teams and a team with three potential NBA players — and the four losses have come by increasingly narrow margins. But it's hard to feel confidence in the Gators consistently winning games that come down to marginal play.