The No. 5 Florida Gators had a chance to end a rare winning streak for Florida State in the two teams’ rivalry on the hardwood on Monday night.
Then tipoff happened — and practically no good things happened for the Gators for the rest of the night, as the Seminoles dominated a sluggish, cold squad for a statement 83-66 win.
FSU’s Terance Mann led all scorers with 25 points, and the Seminoles collected a stunning 23 offensive rebounds and converted them into 24 second-chance points, feasting on an undersized and overwhelmed Florida front line.
And Florida responded with clang after clang after clang. The Gators made just six of 25 threes, and shot under 50 percent from the field inside — while also committing a season-high 19 turnovers. Jalen Hudson’s 16 points paced the Gators, and KeVaughn Allen had a very quiet 15, but the three prongs of Florida’s attack — Hudson, Allen, and Egor Koulechov — shot a combined 13-for-35 from the field, and Chris Chiozza scored all three of his points at the line ... in the final four minutes.
That offensive futility — which had plenty to do with a long, athletic Florida State team harassing Florida’s smaller, fleeter lineup from tipoff to triple zeroes and a mismatch in favor of the Seminoles up front — wasted what was actually a fairly good defensive effort from the Gators. FSU shot just 39 percent from the field, and made under a third of its threes — but the Gators never really put together a string of makes, never led by more than a single point, and never controlled the glass for long.
And so something that had never happened before — the Seminoles winning four straight over Florida in men’s basketball — came to pass.