Florida basketball holds on to defeat FSU 55-51

Hoping to save the University of Florida from a disastrous weekend in Tallahassee, FL, No. 14/16 Florida Gators basketball (5-1) survived a late run to take down the Florida State Seminoles (5-1) 55-51 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday.

Up a game-high 13 points with 14:30 remaining in the second half, Florida allowed Florida State to rattle off a 15-3 run to narrow their lead to a single point. From there the game went back-and-forth until sophomore forward Erik Murphy put in a layup off an airballed three from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton to ice the contest for the Gators.

The Seminoles began the game with a quick 5-0 run including an opening three-pointer and fastbreak dunk. Minutes later, Gators freshman F Casey Prather hit a trey to give his team their first lead of the game; it would never be relinquished after that point.

A 12-2 run helped Florida extend their lead to 17-11, and a subsequent 9-2 run to end the half allowed the Gators to walk into the locker room up 30-21.

Florida started the second half strong with a 6-0 run including a three from junior point guard Erving Walker, free throw from freshman F Will Yeguete and jumper from Boynton that put them up a game-high 13 points.

Florida State went on their 15-3 run at that point, leaving UF scrambling to keep its 44-43 lead over FSU. After plenty of back-and-forth, Seminoles G Michael Snaer nailed a trey off a loose ball to cut the Gators’ lead to 53-51 with 51.4 seconds left.

Murphy’s layup made it a two-shot game, and Florida State conceded the contest after a turnover with only three seconds remaining.

Boynton led the way for the Gators with a team-high 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting (2-of-5 from downtown) with a game-high three steals and five rebounds. Murphy made his presence felt off the bench playing major minutes in place of senior F Alex Tyus. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting (1-of-1 from three) with a team-high six rebounds (three offensive).

With Tyus and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin only seeing 14 and 13 minutes on the court, respectively, Florida’s freshmen frontcourt players stepped up. Center Patric Young played 25 minutes grabbing five rebounds and Yeguete notched 22 minutes with five boards of his own.

The Gators were effective in somewhat shutting down Seminoles star F Chris Singleton, who was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting while only grabbing five rebounds. Snaer led Florida State with 15 points (5-of-6 from three), and G Derwin Kitchen contributed eight rebounds and four assists.

UF shot better from the field (38.1-33.3%) and the line (68-54.5%) than FSU but not downtown (37.5-41.2%). They grabbed six more rebounds, notched one more block and committed six fewer fouls but turned the ball over three more times (17-14).

Winning their first road game of the season and coming out victorious in Tallahassee for the first time since 2002, Florida will remain on the road for their following two contests – a neutral site contest against Central Florida in Orlando, FL on Dec. 1 and a true road game in Washington, D.C. against American on Dec. 5.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
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No. 14 Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

Location: Donald L. Tucker Center – Tallahassee, FL [Capacity: 14,000]
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: FSN / Sun Sports
Online Video: None.
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 14 FLORIDA GATORS FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Record: 4-1 Record: 5-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida State +4; O/U 137

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Florida State 39-22, but the Seminoles are 4-2 in the last six meetings between the schools. The Gators have been unable to win in Tallahassee recently, dropping their last three contests (2004, 2006, 2008). However, they did win 68-52 last year in Gainesville, FL.
» UF has fared well against the ACC under Donovan, posting a 17-9 record and four straight wins and a buzzer-beater victory over N.C. State.
» The Gators are 65-8 under Donovan in the month of November (41-4 since 2004).
» Sunday’s game is Florida’s first game away from the O’Connell Center this season. It is the first time UF has played a true road game as its first game away from home since facing Jacksonville in 2004.
» Donovan needs just six victories to move into sole possession of third place in SEC history for most wins as an SEC head coach.
» The Gators and Seminoles have different specializations early in the season, splitting four main statistical comparisons. Florida is 46th in the nation in points per game (79.4), 136th in rebounds per game (37.6), 43rd in assists per game (16.0) and 11th in field goal percentage (.505), while Florida State is 21st in the nation in points per game (83.6), 10th in rebounds per game (44.6), 129th in assists per game (14.0) and 28th in field goal percentage (.493). FSU has also allowed fewer points per game (60.4-65.8), is playing better defense (32.7-44.9%) and shoots better from the line (71-67.3%).

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker…a backcourt duo that has combined to average 28.6 point per game and has accounted for 21 of their team’s 31 three-pointers this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and senior forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus…Florida’s three frontcourt starters who have combined to average 17.7 rebounds per game.
» Freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin…who has posted a commendable 14-2 assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point in relief of Walker.
» Freshman F Will Yeguete…who has been a spark off the bench for the Gators averaging 5.8 rebounds per game and 3.8 points per game in just 10.3 minutes.
» FSU F Chris Singleton…who is the ACC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and is currently averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game and a conference-high 3.6 steals. He recently became the first player in ACC history to score a triple-double including steals with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals against UNC-Greensboro.

INJURIES

» Active: Redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin (knee)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior F Adam Allen (knee)

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