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FSU 63, Florida 51: Seminoles shut down, upset frustrated Gators

If Mike White’s most talented team can’t topple Florida State, what will?

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - New York Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Florida Gators came into Sunday’s showdown with the Florida State Seminoles with their best chance yet to turn around a rivalry that the school out west had put in a chokehold in recent years.

Instead, the Seminoles’ grip on the series only tightened.

FSU held Florida to a miserable 28 percent shooting from the floor and a woeful 18 percent from three and built a durable double-digit lead en route to a 63-51 win that leaves Mike White and his players with egg on their faces and a massive amount of work to do.

And where should they start?

The lack of defensive discipline that led to botched and lazy rotations and allowed FSU to continually take — and, in the second half, make — open shots?

The bad shooting — Florida went 4-for-22 from distance — that seemed to both be its own poor end and a virus that left the Gators tentative too often?

The offensive stagnation that saw Andrew Nembhard play one of his worst games in a Florida uniform — his six points, three assists, and four turnovers do not capture his ineffectiveness — and short-circuit the rest of the Gators’ attack to the point that all of Kerry Blackshear’s 10 points came from the foul line?

Or the overall lack of sustained intensity to match that of FSU, a program that has been perpetually up for Florida over what is now a six-game winning streak in the series, and has dealt White’s Gators five losses, the last three by double digits?

There is so much to work on, and so little to build on — Keyontae Johnson led all Gators with 17 points thanks largely to his aggressive mindset, I guess, and Blackshear had 13 rebounds for his second straight double-double? — that White and Florida may well be starting from scratch on Monday morning, ripping up any plans they had for molding a talented bunch of players into the formidable team many expect Florida to eventually be.

All we know right now is that Florida is not that team — and that it appears to be a long distance, and maybe a long time, from becoming it.