FSU maintains hold on Florida in men’s basketball

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Florida State forward Raiquan Gray (1) blocks the shot of Florida forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. (24) during the first half Sunday at the O'Connell Centrer. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Leonard Hamilton’s first couple of weeks included plenty of adversity — illness, injuries, a faulty sprinkler system forcing his team to move into hotels and a tough road loss at Pittsburgh.

Mike White’s adversity? Having to watch his team play offense Sunday afternoon.

The 6th-ranked Gators shot 28 percent from the field and allowed FSU to get off to a fast start in the second half in a 63-51 loss at the O’Connell Center.

“It wasn’t the same team (as in practice),” White said. “We took some hero shots and ‘my turn’ shots. 

“We weren’t very good and I wasn’t very good. I have to do a better job of getting them in better position offensively.”

Florida (1-1) wanted to use senior grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. as an offensive weapon, but he never made a basket, instead scoring 10 points on free throws.

FSU (1-1) played physical defensively and forced 16 Florida turnovers. 

“I’ve been playing them for four years,” Blackshear, a Virginia Tech transfer, said of the Seminoles. “It wasn’t nothing new.”

Sophomore Keyontae Johnson led Florida with 19 points by taking the ball to the basket on numerous occasions. But the rest of the team was 6-of-38 shooting.

“I think this really showed where our weaknesses are,” Johnson said. “Our whole team is mad in the locker room.”

The win was the sixth straight for FSU against Florida and fifth straight loss to the Seminoles for White. 

White said he knew his team with so much youth might have growing pains, but he probably didn’t know it would be this painful to watch.

“You hope for this one you play really well and end the streak,” White said.

A sellout crowd of 10,851 was never able to get to full throat because of an FSU run at the start of the second half.

“They were ready to explode,” said Hamilton, “but we kept getting stops.”

The Seminoles went into halftime with a 25-21 lead, then scored the first three baskets of the second half all on shots around the basket.

It got worse. 

FSU stretched the lead to 14 points before the Gators hit a couple of 3s to cut into the lead. But after an Andrew Nembhard 3 made it 49-39, FSU’s Trent Forrest nailed his only make of the game, a 3-pointer with no defender in the vicinity.

“We’ve got eight guys on the bench screaming to sprint back and match up,” White said. 

But someone did not. And from there, FSU was never really threatened again. 

Blackshear did have his second double-double in as many games, getting 13 rebounds. All of his points came on 10-of-14 free throws.

“He didn’t play as well as he’s capable of playing,” Hamilton said, “but we had to work our fannies off.”

Devin Vessel led FSU with 13 points, while M.J. Walker had 12 and Malik Osbrone 10. The Seminoles shot 45 percent in the second half after going 6-for-24 in the first.

“As we struggled to score, it affected our defense,” White said.

Florida’s top two recruits, Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis, combined to go 1-for-10 in the game. Blackshear ended up only taking five shots in the game as FSU clamped down defensively.

“He has to get more touches,” White said. 

Florida next plays Thursday at 7 p.m. at home against Towson. 

FLORIDA ST. 63, No. 6 FLORIDA 51
FLORIDA ST. (1-1)

Osborne 4-7 2-2 10, Gray 0-5 4-6 4, Forrest 2-8 5-6 11, Walker 3-9 5-6 12, Vassell 6-15 0-1 13, Wilkes 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Koprivica 1-1 0-0 2, Olejniczak 0-1 0-0 0, Polite 2-4 2-2 7. Totals 20-55 18-23 63.

FLORIDA (1-1)

Johnson 8-12 2-2 19, Blackshear 0-6 10-14 10, Nembhard 2-7 0-0 6, Mann 1-6 2-2 5, Locke 1-11 0-0 2, Payne 2-4 1-2 5, Jitoboh 0-0 0-0 0, Glover 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-4 4-4 4. Totals 14-51 19-24 51.

Halftime_Florida St. 25-21. 3-Point Goals_Florida St. 5-16 (Forrest 2-3, Polite 1-1, Vassell 1-3, Walker 1-5, Wilkes 0-1, Williams 0-1, Gray 0-2), Florida 4-22 (Nembhard 2-5, Johnson 1-2, Mann 1-4, Blackshear 0-2, Lewis 0-2, Locke 0-7). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Florida St. 36 (Forrest 7), Florida 33 (Blackshear 13). Assists_Florida St. 11 (Forrest 5), Florida 6 (Nembhard 3). Total Fouls_Florida St. 17, Florida 19.

29 COMMENTS

  1. I chose (wisely now) to not ”chime in” on this new Gator basketball team until they played some ”real comp.” And I see one big time worry, too. In the U.N.F. game and now today against F.S.U., too many WIDE OPEN 3’s by the other team… not even contested a little. That won’t get you an ”invite to the NCAA Tourney” …ever! Florida’s 16 turnovers led to 15 of F.S.U.’s points. And that won’t work well, either. So, ”come on Gators, get up and go!”
    And ”gel” soon… please!?!?

    • And that was ”Mike White’s fifth straight loss to FSU.” Coach White, you should really address that soon! Like next season, Coach! Can I get a ”maybe,” Coach W??? Because even when F.S.U. ”was all that” in college football, they couldn’t beat U.F. 5 straight times. Just saying Coach White!

  2. I think Mike white is a good coach. But playing the starting 5 for the first 7 minutes was BS 6th best freshman in the country and ge doesn’t bring him in until 13 something. Mike loves offense and the 3ball so that is why I think he starts Tre. But Mike is supposed to be defense first coach. And Scottie was one of the only players playing any kind of defense. Nut what makes me SUPER angry is his love of Niemhard. The guy dribbles too much and is a below average shooter and scorer but I understand having a coach on the floor figure of speach but he was turning the ball over left and right. Sit him down for a couple minutes. Ahhhhh!!! So angry. Like I said above he loves the 3 ball and stretching the other teams D and so that is why he has Locke in all the time but his shot was clearly off, sit him down. Coach used the excuse that Locke may have been worn down last year. Well sit him at least aa couple minutes. Again no one came in for the first 6+ minutes ahhhhhh

  3. He he needs to play more big men early in the season. He constantly plays small ball. But there will be times and teams that require he plays some big men. Early in the season is the time to get players minutes. If you want to shorten the bench do it later in the season. Fsu was bullying our players. He puts Omar in and the guy played well

    • Well said! This small ball doesn’t work against the better teams which are bigger. No screens. Everyone just stands around waiting for a one on one move. This is not the NBA. He plays one 6 ‘ 10″ guy and the rest are 6 ‘ 5″ and under most of the time and we only have one guy down low who gets smothered every time he gets the ball. Put some height on the court, get the inside/outside game going, and pound the offensive glass. Two years of this boring offense. Maybe it’s because he’s a former point guard so that’s all he can coach – small ball! It’s not working against the better teams!

      • Correct. However, I know he can coach all kinds of different styles of O and D. But I do think as you said his “little man’s complex” and as you said his Point Guard roots get in the way. His statements about not getting movement from his off the ball players (last year especially) are an issue, well tell Neimbhard not to dribble at the half court line for the 1st 5 seconds of the shoot clock before even turning his body around to see the whole court. One more thing I just thought of…..if you are going to play little dudes push the ball and play some early O before the other team’s bigs get down there.

  4. Mike was clueless. FSU does the same thing every year and he makes no adjustments. Terrible game coach! Hamilton eats his lunch every year and will continue to do so every year. Has no idea what to do against the press or FSU tight defense. Same as last year. Nembhard walks the ball down the court and dribble about 3/4 of the shot clock 10 feet pass the top of the circle and then generates the offense. TRUST your players. They have talent and need to learn. Why is Noah Locke playing more than Scottie Lewis? 5 star, top 10 ranked player in the country wasting on the bench with a one dimensional player ahead of him who struggles against top talent. White has to be one of the worse coaches in the SEC.

    • Lewis doesn’t deserve more PT. When he was in the game today, he didn’t really play that well. Not sure what you were watching. He’s 4 of 14 from the field this year and hasn’t made a three yet. This whole team (outside of Payne and Blackshear looked pathetic today). Even Johnson who scored some had 4 turnovers. Nembhard chipped in 4 himself. Locke is 2 of 14 from three so far this year…yikes. I told the guy I was watching the game with “this looks like their first scrimmage of the year”. Hamilton’s team was equally bad in the first half, but in the second they actually looked like a Power 5 team while we kept turning the ball over and missing shots. This team needed a reality check…just wish it didn’t happen at the hands of FSU (again).

          • Brother Wade, you said Scottie didn’t deserve PT because he was shooting bad and then later on you said Locke was shooting bad (both “shooting” comments are %100 true.) However Scottie was playing much better D in the first half then all of the other players. He had 2 blocks and barely played compared to the starting 5. So GatordogUNO is right he should get more mins, especially when Andrew “hold the ball” Niembhard (playing 36+ mins) is turning it over and shooting as bad and worse than other player.

            P.S. To the Gatas’ coach.
            “My players are worn down at the end of the Year”…..hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm…..Wonder why Mike White.

    • I am with you Lewis needs to play more and I am not too big on Locke. But he has Tre Mann also, that’s 2-3 players he could have substituted in and out and got more than just 1 player in the first 7 mins of the game(FSU). Freshmen (and the whole) team need mins.

  5. What a dumpster fire! your ranked 6th in the country and you play like garbage! what the hell is going on? it’s time to get angry and to to take every game personally! Gator nation has put out a lot of money and effort to support you,quit acting like a bunch of pussy willows and play the dAMN GAME! ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP!

  6. As i said last week after a 3or 15 performance from 3 pt. land vs. UNF, drop the trey shot from the youngsters and feed the two guys who can score inside. Gators go 4 of 22 from 3 pt. line vs. FSU and are now a whopping 18.9 percent from 3 pt;. land. Get the ball in the hands of those who can score and if you have to, pulls Nembs from the point positition. As a team this looks horrible. Talentwise (individually) yes but basketball is a team game. 15 zand 15 will get you in the NIT.

  7. What a joke! Read all summer how good they are and they struggle against UNF. Play a weak FSU team and no one can rebound the offensive boards? Shoot a three point shot and if ball fails to go in the Gators are at the other end of the court. Hard to believe Leonard Hamilton can out coach someone but he has Mike White’s number! Number 6 in the bottom 50 maybe!

  8. Yeah so I have been a fan of Mike White thus far. I think no more. This team is poorly coached. The absolute lack of any kind of offensive flow or plan is inexcusable. And the fault lies with the coach. I was so looking forward to the tournament in Charleston. Not so much anymore.

    Hats off though to Keyontae Johnson, the only player prepared to play today. The rest of the team shot 16% from the field. Pathetic. What I saw today was schoolyard basketball from the Gators. Not what I expect from a coach in his fifth year.

  9. Terribly disappointed in the performance against FSU today. Total flashback to last year. I am not a basketball analyst or expert, but I don’t see how somebody taking forever to dribble across half court, then dribble around some more while everybody else stands and watches with defenders next to them, then somebody moves just enough to receive a pass, and then has to throw up a shot before the shot clock expires constitutes any kind of offensive system, imagination or any kind of coaching. I’m frankly tired of watching this. Nobody moves from side to side to try to come off screens or anything. Oh but let’s try to pass the ball to a stationary guy that’s double and triple teamed. Unbelievable! Do they even practice offense?

  10. BamaGator is right on. Just like last year, the Gator basketball team does not move without the ball. Whether that is Mike White’s fault or his players fail to execute what he has taught them is impossible for us to know, but standing in the corner (as Kevaugh Allen did all of last year) or on the wing and expecting that somehow you are going to get an open shot is clueless. Unless you move without the ball, you ain’t going to get rid of your defender and find a lane to the basket or get an open shot and the Gators do not do that. If coach White expects that the team is going to win against good teams simply by shooting threes all season, then he is not only wrong but is wasting the talent that the team really has.

  11. This looks like the same offense as last year, especially with Nembhard doing his no energy slow dribbling waste of shot clock time bringing the ball up. Is this Mike White’s strategy? And Nembhard last year thought he might turn pro….whew. Nobody moves without the ball, no pick and roll plays,no offensive rebounding, in fact no offensive players around the basket.

    Sad, sad, sad

  12. I coached bball for 30 years. Have always thought White a good coach. Now, after watching the FSU game, I am starting to have doubts. Gators do not look like a team, but a group of playground guys who cant shoot the 3 or play defense–or rebound. Very strange. He needs to change the rotation quickly and change the offense and defense. Should not have these worries/problems with all that talent. Then again, he’s the head coach.

  13. It’s early in the year, but it seems the extended 3-point line is hurting the shooting percentages more than expected throughout college basketball. As many have noted above, the Gators are standing around for most of the shot clock, then settling for contested 3’s. They may be shooting them well in practice, but so far, is isn’t translating into the games.

    The biggest difference I noticed yesterday was that one team played with fire and toughness, and the other didn’t. The Gators need to find some toughness fast, or the great pre-season expectations may go up in smoke.

  14. I thought the offensive game plan was embarrassing. I’m not a big “Fire Mike White!” guy, but I do have some real concerns and questions about the way he has them set up.

    Off-ball:
    If you really look at their sets, the Gators set pretty much zero off the ball screens (picks). None! The guys are set up with the correct spacing and then run around. Nobody screens for each other and they never reverse the court. The bigs dont set cross screens and their is no high low. The way to beat an aggressive man to man, that wants to play tight and jump the passing lanes is to set screens off the ball. It causes mismatches and because they are playing so tight, a strong screen will be effective. When we don’t set screens, FSU can call their switches easily, jump the passing lanes and just run around with out guys. It puts a ton of pressure on our guys to create their own shots.

    On ball:
    Why is every on ball screen a slip screen? There is never a roll, or if there is a roll it is weak. Just like with Billy D, almost ever set starts with a high ball screen, but with the lack of movement, the PG has nowhere to go, even if the screen works. Also, because its a slip screen, Blackshear just kind of retreats to the opposite block. This leaves the point guard with an option of either drive to the basket or kick the ball out to the wing and reset. There is no interior option. Once in the second half they ran the screen and roll, Blackshear sealed off the defender, got the ball and drew a shooting foul.

    Some coaches have different philosophies, but White has movement, screens and shifting on his inbounds plays. He is considered a master at them. I don’t get why he wont use some of those same techniques in the half court.

    I’m not saying they should fire Mike White or that he isn’t a good coach but if we play a team that matches or exceeds our athleticism, our scheme does nothing to create shots for our players. Even our most elite teams only had a couple guys who could create their own shots. Also, in a stagnant offense the players never have a chance to get in the flow if they are struggling. They don’t set a screen to free a guy. They don’t bang bodies. They don’t do the little things to help get them in the flow. You can blame the players but this is a young team that is going to rely on coaching more than any team before and White needs to accept this and step up his game.