If you removed freshman guard KeVaughn Allen from the Florida Gators‘ lineup on Tuesday night against the Florida State Seminoles, it would have gotten pretty ugly inside the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.
Instead, the Seminoles edged the Gators on a late jumper, throwing water on a fiery performance by Allen that kept the hosts in a game they otherwise would’ve been blown out of by halftime.
OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s devastating loss with eight quick-hitters:
It was over when: Moments after Florida redshirt senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith finished a clutch layup to give his team the lead with just over 23 seconds to play, Florida State G Dwayne Bacon found himself open in the lane with an opportunity to hit a jumper. He did just that, nailing the shot with 4.7 seconds to play to push the visitors ahead 73-71. Bacon, who finished 5-of-8 from beyond the arc with a team-high 24 points, led the Noles to a second-straight late-game victory over the Gators … after Jacob Kurtz’s tip-in helped FSU pull out a win last season.
Significant stretch: Down 10 at the half, Florida had trouble getting back in the contest over the final 20 minutes but wound up doing just that on the back of a 7-0 run that cut the Gators’ deficit down to a single point with 1:50 to play. Finney-Smith scored five points during the stretch as UF went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. He scored seven of his 10 points on the final few minutes of the game but struggled otherwise, going 3-for-11 from the field in the contest.
New depths: Florida was miserable offensively in the contest with players not named Allen going 5-for-20 (15 points) in the first half and finishing 14-for-42 (39 points) for the game. The Gators allowed the Noles to end the first half on a 10-0 stretch, including a buzzer-beating three that took the air out of the O’Dome and put UF in a tough spot entering the break. Again, players not named Allen were basically awful in the game, going 1-for-18 from three and 10-for-20 from the charity stripe
What a rush: Allen was simply incredible for Florida on Tuesday night. The true freshman outscored his team in the first half, going 5-for-6 with 16 points (the rest of the Gators scored 15) and finishing with a game-high 32 points while hitting all nine of his free throws. Allen’s total was the fifth-highest for a freshman in Florida history and put him in a tie for 12th-most points scored in the O’Dome. He scored the most points by a Gators freshman since 2002 and truly had a breakout performance, one that while unexpected is not completely surprising giving his supreme level of talent. It’s simply unfortunate that his team gave him very little help on the evening.
Something is wrong: Redshirt freshman G Brandone Francis-Ramirez went 0-for-3 from downtown on Tuesday, which on its own is not that huge of a deal. But consider this: Francis-Ramirez is now 4-for-33 from three this season. That’s 12 percent, 10 percent lower than what much-maligned Dan Werner shot as a freshman and 18 percent lower than what Werner shot during his much-criticized senior year. And then remember this: Francis-Ramirez won UF’s three-point contest in exciting fashion during its faux-Midnight Madness practice ahead of the season.
Can’t hang: Florida has lost to the four best opponents it’s faced this season. The prior three teams to which the Gators fell are currently ranked No. 1 (Michigan State), No. 13 (Miami) and No. 14 (Purdue), but Florida State at 9-2 entering the game was on the verge of being ranked and proved their immense level of talent on Tuesday. Overall, the Gators’ four losses are to teams with a combined record of 49-4.
Everything else: Despite being over-matched in length, UF outrebounded FSU 43-36 and outscored the visitors 38-24 in the paint … Finney-Smith, sophomore F Devin Robinson and freshman center Kevarrius Hayes each had seven boards, though Robinson finished -12 on the evening … redshirt sophomore C John Egbunu ran into foul trouble again and actually fouled out of the contest … though junior point guard Kasey Hill had been taking care of the ball as of late, he committed five turnovers … similarly, hot-shooting sophomore PG Chris Chiozza cooled off with four points on 3-of-7 shooting
Up next: The opening-season nonconference slate concludes with Florida 8-4 and dropping all of its games against quality opponents. The Gators will look to get back on track in SEC play as they open their league schedule by hosting Georgia on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. in the O’Dome.