FSU overwhelms No. 5 Florida

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Florida guard Egor Koulechov takes a shot Monday against Florida State in the first half at the O'Connell Center. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

There were no offensive fireworks on this night for No. 5 Florida. No rain fell in Rainsville.

Instead, Florida continued its letdown trend against rival Florida State. In a hapless offensive display, the Gators hardly resembled a top-10 team, falling 83-66 to the Seminoles at the O’Connell Center.

Florida (5-2) suffered its fourth straight loss to the Seminoles and its first home loss of the season. The Gators, who came into the game leading the nation in scoring at 99.5 points per game, were unable to solve an athletic FSU team that overplayed the passing lanes and crashed the boards. Florida State scored 19 points off 17 Florida turnovers, outrebounded the Gators 51-34 and outscored the Gators 24-8 in second chance points.

Florida coach Mike White said the Gators spent the last 24 hours talking about throwing the first punch in a rivalry game. But instead, White said, it was FSU who threw the first punch and didn’t stop punching.

“Tonight,” Florida coach Mike White said, “was the epitome of soft.”

Asked how to solve the rebounding problem, and whether abandoning the four-guard starting lineup is an option, White said: “I don’t know what to say there. It’s not our strength. If we get (senior center) John Egbunu back healthy, we’re not looking at that for a while. Again it comes down to being more accountable. Kevarrius Hayes, he had no defensive rebounds but he fought as hard as anybody, Kevarrius and Chris Chiozza are flying around, playing with physicality. It’s those 8 to 10 missed block outs by guards that we work on every day in practice, that needs to get better.”

Defensively, the Gators had no answers to stop FSU junior swingman Terrence Mann, who led all scorers with a career-high 25 points. The Seminoles (7-0) also got 17 points from sophomore guard CJ Walker and a double-double from senior forward Phil Cofer (12 points, 10 rebounds), who finished his FSU career 4-0 against the Gators.

“We played exceptionally well tonight, probably a little better than we have been playing,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Florida brought out the best in us tonight and hopefully we can continue to play that way.”

Junior guard Jalen Hudson led the Gators with 16 points, with junior guard KeVaughn Allen adding 15 points. Senior point guard Chris Chiozza struggled, scoring just 3 points with 4  assists to 4 turnovers. Florida shot just 36.2 percent from the field and 24 percent (6-25) from 3-point range.

Hudson said the Gators were a “little too celebratory” in practices after winning two of three games and taking No. 1 Duke to the wire over Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Tournament in Portland.

“It’s just a reality check because I think maybe we felt too good about ourselves, coming back from Portland,” said Florida senior forward Egor Koulechov, who had 11 points but struggled from the perimeter, going 1 of 7 from 3-point range. “This is kind of what we need as a team, not just to get back to basics but to work harder, be mentally tougher and find other ways to win because we’re not going to be hitting 15 3s every game.”

Playing its first game in eight days since falling to No. 1 Duke in the PK 80 Tournament Finals in Portland, Ore., Florida slogged through a sloppy first half. FSU hit a pair of 3-pointers early and jumped to a 10-1 lead when Mann stole the ball from Florida center Kevarrius Hayes and drove in for a breakaway dunk.

It was a sign of things to come. Florida State scored 11 points off 11 first-half turnovers for the Gators. Florida took a brief 15-14 lead on a Hayes putback but missed a chance to build a lead when Hudson and Hayes combined to go just 2 of 5 from the free-throw line after an FSU flagrant foul.

Mann heated up, helping FSU regain the lead 20-18 on a three-point play while drawing Hayes’ second foul of the first half in the process. The Seminoles went up 28-22 on a pair of Cofer free throws, but Florida, sparked by a pair of freshmen, went on a run to regain the lead. Freshman point guard Mike Okauru’s 3-pointer cut FSU’s lead to 28-25, while freshman Deaundrae Ballard put the Gators back ahead 33-32 on a putback jumper.

Hudson put Florida up 34-33 before the Seminoles closed the half on an 8-0 run. Cofer scored four points on the run with a turn-around inside jumper and breakaway dunk off a missed Chiozza drive. Hudson was unable to hit the rim on a rushed, contested 3-point attempt at the buzzer as the Gators went into the locker room trailing 42-35 at halftime.

Florida shot just 11 of 30 from the field in the first half and 4 of 16 from 3-point range. FSU also had its way on the boards, outrebounding the Gators 28-21 in the first and outscoring Florida 14-6 in second-chance points.

“We were pressing from the jump,” White said. “It was ‘how quickly can I get a shot up’ putting our head down against a team that does a good job swarming to the basketball and taking charges.”

It didn’t get much better for the Gators in the second half. Florida cut FSU’s lead to 48-44 on a Hudson dunk in transition, but couldn’t get closer as FSU extended its lead to as many as 18 in the closing minutes.

“It’s super humbling,” Hudson said. “We’re definitely not as good as we think we are, we’re definitely not as good as the rankings say. We’ve got to get back to work.”

FREE THROWS: Freshman 6-9 forward Chase Johnson was unavailable due to an illness. Johnson is day-to-day. … Freshman center Isaiah Stokes, still recovering from a torn ACL, did some shooting drills a few hours before the game. Stokes is still at least a month away from returning and could choose to redshirt. … Scouts from a handful of NBA teams attended the game, including scouts from the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. … The Seminoles’ four-game winning streak against the Gators is their longest in the 68-game history of the series.

FLORIDA ST. 83, No. 5 FLORIDA 66
FLORIDA ST. (7-0)

Cofer 4-12 2-2 10, Obiagu 2-3 0-0 4, Mann 11-17 3-4 25, C.Walker 5-9 4-6 17, Angola 2-11 4-4 10, Kabengele 0-6 0-0 0, B.Allen 0-0 0-0 0, M.Walker 2-6 2-2 8, Savoy 0-2 0-0 0, Forrest 2-6 5-6 9. Totals 28-72 20-24 83.

FLORIDA (5-2)

Hayes 1-3 1-2 3, Hudson 5-11 4-9 16, Chiozza 0-5 3-4 3, Koulechov 4-13 2-2 11, K.Allen 4-11 6-6 15, Stone 1-2 2-2 5, Bassett 0-0 0-0 0, Gak 1-1 0-0 2, Ballard 4-10 0-0 8, Okauru 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 21-58 18-25 66.

Halftime_Florida St. 42-35. 3-Point Goals_Florida St. 7-23 (C.Walker 3-6, M.Walker 2-5, Angola 2-7, Savoy 0-1, Cofer 0-1, Mann 0-3), Florida 6-25 (Hudson 2-6, Okauru 1-1, Stone 1-2, K.Allen 1-6, Koulechov 1-7, Chiozza 0-1, Ballard 0-2). Fouled Out_Forrest. Rebounds_Florida St. 42 (Cofer 12), Florida 32 (Ballard 9). Assists_Florida St. 9 (C.Walker 4), Florida 7 (Chiozza 4). Total Fouls_Florida St. 19, Florida 20.

 

34 COMMENTS

  1. An absolutely humiliating, embarrassing loss to an unranked fsu team which will probably never even break the top 20 all season.

    Never liked the White hire and this loss tonight hasn’t changed my mind. Top 5 teams simply DO NOT LOSE games like this against unranked teams ON YOUR OWN FLOOR.

    Then before this we blew a 17 point lead in a loss to Duke. I look for more losses like this one tonight as the season goes ON.

    Mike White will never win a NC at UF… wont happen. His teams are too small, too finesse, and too soft. Maybe one SEC Title, two max, but we’ll never make an NCAA Final with White as coach.

  2. Anyone who tuned into this game because they heard Florida was a sure bet to make the Final Four has got to be wondering what all the fuss was about. This Florida team has no inside offensive threats. The return of John Egbunu will not make a difference on the offensive side of the ball, in fact, last year’s Gator team actually got better when Egbunu went down with his season ending injury. When your offense depends on making the 3, you lose a lot of games when you don’t. Chris Chiozza made several freshman like mistakes, not what you need from a senior point guard. K. Allen has been MIA so far at the start of this early season, overshadowed by the two transfers who brought nothing to this game. I expect the Gators to rebound from this humiliating home lose to your most hated rival, but the sting from this one is gonna last for awhile. FSUs dominance over the Gators in the fall continues.

  3. This team for some reason tends to hit cold streaks in their shooting. they are a small team,that’s the problem in a nutshell,when your small you have to shoot the lights out in order to stay competitive. size does matter and until you have that you will see more meltdowns when the team starts shooting cold!

  4. I have been following Gator Basketball for over 26 years. I have not observed a team underachieve like they did tonight. Very disappointing. The Gators were out coached and out hustled badly. They had no fire!! FSU wanted it more. Florida did not know how to handle the press and what to do when Chiozza was doubled up bringing the ball up the floor. Thy had not idea to attack the zone that FSU employed against them. Florida’s big men have gotten outmuscled the last 3 games and look like they have never worked under a strength coach. Mike White is 0 and 3 against Leonard Hamilton. White might not get pumped up about the game as he mentioned in the paper, but Hamilton sure does.

    • I watched an interview with Coach White on TV sports before the game. I was surprised at his lack of enthusiasm about the game. I realize coaches don’t want their team to get too keyed up before a game, however Coach White sounded underwhelmed. This seemed to carry over in the way the Gators played tonight. Let’s hope this was just an off night for our team, they will learn from this and bounce back quickly and actually come to play at he next game!

  5. we have a great team and a terrific coach. We had an uncharacteristically bad night, They will rally and be back in Championship form. Get rid of the negativism Gators ! In all kinds of weather we all stick together !

  6. fsu was unbelievably good. They put us to shame on our own court, we looked lost and disorganized against a flying, alley-oop dunking nole team that seemed to hit every shot they put up, even from 35′. fsu ruled the paint, did we even get any points near the rim? Chiozza’s out-of-control drives to the bucket yielding zero points looked like a repeating movie. Chiozza’s play was a microcosm of the entire night for the Gators, in panic mode and blowing every chance on the floor while looking like a bad high school team. I hate fsu, but hats off to them. If these two teams played 10 times the noles might win 8 or 9.

  7. Wow! What was that? The guys wearing the Gator uniform were not our team. They were imposers. Posers. Who kidnapped our team? Call the police. Put out an APB. The Gator Basketball team got somehow got lost coming on to the floor from the locker room. The team is missing in action. Anyone with information on their whereabouts please call the Coach, Mike White, he is worried about them and their future as are the rest of their fans.

    • Great comment Joel. However, I would add Coach Mike White seemed to be MIA last night also. Could it be possible someone spiked the Gatoraid? Yes, we need our Gator team back. Our team should always take pride in defending their home court. Like the song says, “I will stand my ground and I won’t back down!” Come on Gators, get up and go!!! We know you can do it!

  8. Kevin, I was wrong – you were right. The Gators have been totally exposed. Still hope for improvement, but the manual for stopping the Gators has been written.

  9. Our Gators will learn & improve. Still important out of conference games with Cincy & Clemson upcoming. This team may need to play more often, 8 day layoff obviously hurt us. The Noles played very well. Go Gators!

  10. The Gators only shot 25% from 3 point land. All the while, Coach White seemed to let this thing unravel on purpose (pray tell). Coach White called very few time outs throughout the game to stop the bleeding.
    So he must be proving something to them (privately), and I hope hit home!
    Otherwise, ”that Gator team” won’t win many games playing like that. Go Gators!

  11. They had no fire. Even coach White appeared disinterested. No way would the Semis beat UF 8-9 out of 10. The first half shooting was horrific, if it was even avg. for this team, we’d have had a double digit lead at the half. Just a real bad night by an overconfident team which obviously is overmatched if they face an athletic, bigger team. That they did so well for most of the night vs. Duke, though, shows they are capable, but they need a look in the mirror. Chiozza was AWOL, if you SR leader PG is AWOL you are in trouble. Players were just standing around on offense. Criminoles wanted it more, which is inexcusable.

  12. It’s basketball, not football. You’re allowed to have an off night. Mike White is a good coach. The season is just getting started. Some of you need to calm down.

    • I’m not so sure. They played just like the football team. No leader (QB), no offensive rythm, porous defense. Just a sorry effort from everyone.

      Some of the shots the Gators took just had me scratching my head…

  13. Tried to tell some on here to tap the brakes. This team has major holes defensively and position wise. You cannot get by with firing threes and the post not touching the ball in the SEC. Coaching is subpar just as it was in the Duke loss.
    Chiozza was awful and turned the ball over and fired lefthanded hook runners; Egor is too small to guard a 4 and too slow to guard a 3. Stone needs to be in the lineup and help rebounding. Sad sad performance against a FSU team that is not very good.

  14. This is what you’re going to get with this team. They’re not great defensively. When they’re shooting the ball well they’re the best offensive team in basketball, but if they have an off night shooting they’re going to be a really bad team. There’s no in between with them at this point. Hopefully when Egbunu comes back it’ll shore up the defense a bit and make it easier to overcome bad shooting nights. Until that happens though we’re probably going to see them losing more games they shouldn’t be losing. People seem to already be expecting Billy D results 10 years into his tenure instead of realizing this is a coach just starting his 3rd year building the program. Seems like the fans have the same unreasonable expectations they do for the football team. Give the man time to build his program. He only needs a few more pieces to make this team unstoppable.

  15. When you fall in love with the three, don’t move the ball, turn over the ball a lot, and don’t play defense very well this is the result. I worry about three point shooting being the first and last option. Let’s hope the team learns and that coach will insist on those that start play the right way.

  16. This Florida team is extremely talented and will only get a lot better as the season progresses. Live and learn, and I am sure they learned a lot last night. Egbunu will be a difference maker inside if he returns healthy and in shape. Looking forward to that and the SEC season. I expect this team will go far in the NCAAs this year and, from what I witnessed last night, so will FSU. They are extremely talented as well. Hope they meet up again this year.

  17. Worst game in long time. Hopefully this team gets mad and plays better from here on out. FSU was quicker, taller and seemed to want this more. Like last year, I believe we will improve as the year goes on and will be a force in the tourney. But against our rivals to have a game like this is bad. I like Mike White, but he needs to know, he won’t stay long if he allows our instate rivals to push us around.

    • If White gets to the elite 8 again he will be invited to stay a long time. I don’t like losing to the holes, but frankly, it won’t stand between us and winning the conf or the conf tourney, or the ncaa tourney. Sound like SOS?

  18. We had an off game (I hope that’s what it was). Our interior guys are weak, plain skinny weak, it’s like the football S&C coach coached them. Hayes is pretty much a no show, he’s regressed from being just an ok big. Hopefully Eg will be a difference maker. But right now we are getting owned in the paint game after game. You’d think Hayes and the other two bigs would have more pride and want too. I would like to see MW get after these guys, shows some anger, like someone said earlier, there doesn’t seem to be much passion in him or the rest of the team. It’s like they just show up. To me the team has taken on the laid back approach of MW.

  19. Coaching is very suspect. You can’t win in the SEC with 4 guards, running and gunning and shooting one legged fadeaways, ie, Chiozza and Egor. Poor defensively. White does no coaching or adjustments, just rolls the ball out there and let’s the first one down shoot it.
    Another poor coaching hire by Foley and there have been many. If you want a real basketball coach, bring the guy in from Miss State.
    The two freshmen give more effort and results but seldom play. Hayes and Stone never touch the ball on the inside. This is the problem when you start 4 gunners and have another one coming off the bench.

  20. Coach White needs to recruit REAL centers that have a dominant inside presence rebounding, blocking shots and forcing opponents away from the basket. I get it that John Egbunu is hurt but Kevarrius Hayes and Gorjak Gak are constantly outplayed, out rebounded, out of position, not blocking lanes and getting out muscled.

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