Florida vs. Florida State score, takeaways: Gators obliterate ‘Noles for third straight rivalry win

By OnlyGators.com Staff
November 17, 2023
Florida vs. Florida State score, takeaways: Gators obliterate ‘Noles for third straight rivalry win

Image Credit: UAA

Looking to rebound from a tough neutral-site loss last week, Florida Gators men’s basketball continued its high level of play with a thoroughly dominant 89-68 win over the Florida State Seminoles at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. (If that score looks familiar, it’s the exact same final that UF achieved earlier this week over the Florida A&M Rattlers.)

The Gators obliterated the ‘Noles in the first half utilizing strong 3-point shooting and a ball-sharing mentality to take advantage of an extremely inefficient effort from the visitors. Let’s take a look at what went down Friday night with some Fastbreak Takeaways.

It was over when … redshirt senior point guard Zyon Pullin made three technical free throws and a layup in succession to push Florida back ahead by 25 points with 2:36 to play. The Gators led by as many as 31 points in the second half but allowed the Seminoles to get back in the game with an extended 16-5 scoring stretch that dropped the lead to 20 points with 9 minutes remaining. UF was ice-cold from the field at that point, committing reckless fouls and coughing up the ball early in the period. Ultimately, the hosts settled down and maintained their strong advantage over the duration of the half, only leading by fewer than 20 points for 29 seconds the entire period.

First half focus: Florida started hot and did not let up, using a 28-5 run early in the half to lead 36-9 before Florida State fought back to cut its deficit to 19 points. The Gators refused to relent, however, ending the half on a 16-5 stretch to take a half-high 30-point lead at the break. While UF was excellent in most phases, it again struggled at the charity stripe hitting just 10 of 17 free throws in the opening period. Junior guard Walter Clayton Jr. starred with 12 points and 3 assists in the first 20 minutes, while the Gators dominated inside with a 28-9 rebounding edge and 20-10 scoring advantage.

Exceptional efforts: Clayton ultimately led both teams with 19 points and 5 assists, though he fouled out with 4 fouls coming in just 13 second-half minutes, and he also coughed up 3 turnovers in the contest. Pullin, off suspension making his debut for the Gators, had a nearly perfect line with 15 points, 5 boards, 4 dimes and only a single turnover. Redshirt senior forward Tyrese Samuel did most of his heavy lifting in the first half but still finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds; sophomore center Micah Handlogten matched that total off the glass with 8 points.

Odds & ends: Florida has now won three straight against Florida State after losing seven consecutive meetings from 2014-20 … the Gators are now 56-29 in the all-time series, 23-9 in the O’Dome … UF dominated paint scoring 20-10 in the first half only to get blitzed 30-18 by FSU in the second half … Florida still won the rebounding battle 48-33 and had a 12-5 edge scoring off the fast break … the Gators hit just 22 of 36 free throws, their third time in four games shooting worse than 66% at the charity stripe … Florida is averaging 85.3 points per game to open the season … sophomore G Riley Kugel posted 10 points and 5 boards, but he once again struggled to shoot, falling to 3 of 16 over the last two games

What it means: The Gators took care of business against a talented but overmatched opponent. The Noles have fallen off recently, but they did enter as the tallest team in the nation this season. Florida, which has much improved height in Year 2 under Golden, completely dominated the interior in the first half, and while it did get outscored down low in the latter period, it remained active on the boards. Perhaps most impressive was how the Gators bounced back from an extremely rough start to the second half. FSU had a huge halftime lead in this game a year ago only for Florida to fight all the way back and win; a similar circumstance could have occurred Friday, except the Gators were disciplined and played team basketball when it counted down the stretch.

What about the women? Friday night’s game was actually part of a women’s and men’s doubleheader in the O’Dome. Though the Gators led the No. 12 Seminoles 36-35 at the break, Florida ultimately fell 79-75 to FSU with the visitors outscoring the hosts 30-19 in the fourth quarter and 12-5 to end the game. it was a disappointing loss for UF, though hitting just 6 of 24 from downtown certainly made a victory difficult. While senior guards Aliyah Matharu and Leilani Correa combined for 31 points, they also shot just 11 of 33 (.333) from the field and 4 of 16 (.250) from long range with Matharu committing 5 turnovers. The defeat ended a 25-game home nonconference winning streak for the women.

What’s next? Florida hits the road next week for a pair of neutral-site contests at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Gators will compete in the 2023 NIT Season Tip-Off where they will face Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET before taking on either Byalor or Oregon State on Friday.

Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux