Three observations following Florida’s 83-66 loss to Florida State at the O’Connell Center:
— Florida coach Mike White challenged his trio of big men, junior center Kevarrius Hayes, redshirt sophomore forward Keith Stone and sophomore center Gorjok Gak, to raise their level of play after inconsistent showings at the PK80 Tournament in Portland. But none answered the bell. Hayes played with effort, but was consistently manhandled inside by FSU big men Phil Cofer and Ike Obiagu, finishing with 3 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 turnovers. Stone had 5 points, 3 points and 3 turnovers as well, while Gak had just 2 points and 4 rebounds in 7 minutes. Hayes needs to do a better job taking care of the ball in the high post as well, as he was picked by an early steal by FSU swingman Terrance Mann, who converted the turnover into an early transition dunk that got the Seminoles going.
— With shots not falling early, Florida went back to its dribble drive approach rather than moving the ball around to get better shots. The Gators, who came into the game with a stellar assist-to-turnover margin of 2-1, had just 7 assists to 17 turnovers against the Seminoles. On the rare occasions when Florida made good passes against the Seminoles, the Gators couldn’t finish around the basket. Hayes missed a dunk on a no-look pass from Chiozza and freshman Deaundrae Ballard missed a transition layup.
— Credit freshman swingman Deaundrae Ballard for playing with some toughness with 8 points and 9 rebounds and 21 minutes. Ballard remains a gunner but was able to get a first-half basket by following one of his own shots. The Gators had 11 offensive rebounds, compared to 23 for FSU, and need more players to mix it up inside to be successful.