Fastbreak: Jacob Kurtz miscue sends Florida State to 65-63 victory over Florida Gators

By Adam Silverstein
December 30, 2014

Florida Gators basketball (7-5) saw its five-game winning streak over the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles (8-5) come to an end on Tuesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida.

A miscue by one Florida player with less than a second to go cost the Gators a well-deserved overtime after they fought back from a five-point deficit with less than two minutes to play. The Seminoles triumphed 65-63 at home. breaks down Tuesday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: With the game tied at 54, Florida missed three consecutive baskets down the stretch and Florida State guard Devon Bookert drained a dagger three-pointer with 1:29 remaining to push the Seminoles ahead of the Gators 59-54. However, Florida fought its way back to tie the contest at 63, ending a 9-3 stretch with an alley-oop layup by redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The Gators would eventually fall in the contest, however, as redshirt senior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz – hoping to corral an offensive rebound on a Seminoles miss with less than a second to play – accidentally tipped in an air-ball for what became FSU’s game-winning basket.

“I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, been in a lot of games, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. My heart goes out to him because he really tried to make the right play. One of the things you worry about in that situation, with three seconds, is a quick shot and then obviously an opportunity for them to offensive rebound. I think he made an aggressive play,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game.

“I think that play is probably going to be talked about, but if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been in the game. He did a lot of great things and even early in the game, when we got down, we put him in the game, the lead changed; the second half, the same thing happened. I feel bad the game ended like that. I told him he needs to move past that because he tried to make the right play.”

Significant stretches: After giving up consecutive baskets to open the second half, Florida erased a six-point deficit with a 10-1 run – including back-to-back threes by Finney-Smith and freshman point guard Chris Chiozza – to take a 38-35 lead with 14:39 to play. Unfortunately for UF, FSU responded with an 14-2 stretch to negate that effort and take a seven-point lead with eight minutes left in the contest. Florida missed six field goals over 5:02, seeing its lead disappear.

Prominent players: Sophomore PG Kasey Hill did much of the heavy lifting for the Gators, scoring a team-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting while going 3-for-3 from the charity stripe with a team-high three assists. Finney-Smith was also effective with 14 points (6-for-11) and seven boards.

Important injury: Returning from a mid-foot sprain and strep throat, redshirt junior guard Eli Carter saw less than a full minute of action before getting injured again, going down with a sprained ankle about 30 seconds after he came off the bench. Carter was ruled out for the remainder of the contest by the Gators’ training staff.

“He wanted to try to go back in there and play. It’s the same foot that he sprained previously. I don’t know how severe or how bad it is. I thought he was going to try to go back in but then decided he couldn’t do it,” Donovan said after the game.

First half focus: Florida started 2-for-10 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, trailing Florida State for the first eight minutes of the contest. The Gators took advantage of four Seminoles turnovers with a 10-0 run over four minutes that pushed the visitors ahead of the hosts 20-13. FSU was able to respond with an 11-2 scoring stretch to end the half as UF went 0-for-7 from the field over the final 3:15 of the opening 20 minutes. The teams combined to go just 19-for-56 from the floor (.339) and 2-for-17 from three (.118) with 24 turnovers.

Perfect plays: Trailing by two after committing a turnover, Florida tied things up at 54 with 3:57 to play as Hill stole the ball in the backcourt and drove right to the hoop for an open layup. It was the fifth-straight field goal that the Gators made as they climbed out of a seven-point hole.

Standout stats: Florida was horrible offensively, hitting 26-of-61 shots (43 percent) and 4-of-19 attempts from downtown (21 percent). The Gators also committed 17 turnovers and 19 fouls, while the Noles were also careless with 15 turnovers but only hacked 12 times on the evening.

What it means: Florida lost a game it should have won against an inferior opponent. The Gators also saw a four-game winning streak come to an end as they played sloppy, ineffective and – at times – inept basketball for most of the 40 minutes on Tuesday.

Next up: UF has one more non-conference game to play before moving on to its Southeastern Conference slate as Florida hosts UConn on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 2 p.m.

Everything else: The Gators’ first four shot attempts in the game were from downtown; all were missed … UF and FSU combined to start 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc … six of the Florida’s first 15 points came on goaltending calls … Kurtz finished with a game-high eight boards … junior G Michael Frazier II was just 4-for-12 from the field (2-for-6 from three) with 11 points … freshman F Devin Robinson also struggled, missing all five of his threes and six of seven attempts from the field


  1. Wes says:

    What’s going on with Chris Walker? Did he get benched after a poor first half?

  2. Dave Massey says:

    Florida had a guest coach tonight-Will Muschamp. This team isn’t even a seven seed, maybe not a tournament team. And I don’t understand why Walker thinks he’s ready for the NBA next year or Robinson for that matter.

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    Well, that’s a first. Feel so bad for Kurtz. Feel worse for the team, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory again. Shooting is their Achilles heal. The simply can’t put it in consistently. With Eli Carter completely snake bit in injuries and Frazier for some reason not really able to step up and take the reins and be “the” leader, there just is no offensive identity even as hard as they scrap to get open and get good shoots. They get them, they just don’t make most of them. Solid defense too, but when you constantly miss so many shots, the other team is going to eventually get you in transition.

    This is sadly looking like a team that is going to find its way into the NIT. I think they are better than their record in effort, but they have let every game against a major opponent slip out of their grasp.

  4. Gatoralum88 says:

    Billy’s streak of 20+ win seasons may be in jeopardy. Of course, I know there’s time but so many parts of this team’s game right now are either bad (3pt & FT shooting, defense) or non existent (inside game, Walker). It’s as if Muschump’s poor offensive mojo has somehow rubbed off on this team. At times, they’re too sloppy & painful to watch. Billy must get sick to his stomach watching them & I’m sure if Patric Young & Wilbekin were watching somewhere in Turkey & Australia respectively they felt ill after watching this one to. Also, it’s not a good sign when Billy chooses to go with a walk-on after a timeout at the end of a game over a 5th-year senior (Horford) & a 5* recruit (Walker) IMO. They have a LONG way to go.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I am sure this team will still get to 20 wins, the SEC isn’t strong enough and they are getting better even though they struggle to score.

      I strongly disagree with your criticism of D, though. They play good D, but when you flame out on so many shots, you just give up lots in transition. I was hopeful when they mentioned tonight that Young was in the NBA that he had been picked up again, but was sure they just weren’t really following what was going on, not sure why they felt he was in the show, but we all make mistakes.

      This team plays really good press and D, the problem is you can’t press if you don’t make shots and you can’t play lots of half court D if tons of rebounding in transition (3 7 footers rebound a lot of missed shots!).

      Just a shame that they can’t seem to get it together, at least not yet. There really is a ton of talent on this team, they just can’t figure it out, and Carter getting injured every 2 minutes of playing doesn’t help. I really don’t get why Frazier isn’t able to step up, but apparently he isn’t a leader, he is a “do your thing when you can” type guy.

      Lots of potential there right now, just bet Billy is really trying to figure out how to get them to realize it.

  5. Tguygator says:

    With so many different starting lineups, the holidays and a very long break since their last game, the incohesiveness and lack of offense tonight is understandable.

    I believe we’ll see another team Saturday. I still see us having a big season. I like their effort; I think the shots will start falling.

  6. ga8or22 says:

    I feel for the young man – Florida should not blame him for the loss although many fans do – the Gators should have taken care of business themselves.

  7. Buster says:

    Bonehead play by Kurtz.
    There was no point in even trying to touch that ball so I’m not sure what he was thinking

    • Ken (CA) says:

      There was still half a second left and if he didn’t there was an FSU player there that could have tipped it in. just very unfortunate timing and spin

  8. scroud says:

    Kurtz played a solid game, if he didn’t get the rebound on the previous possession, the game is over. Besides, one play should never determine a game. If we could hit wide open shots we would be dangerous.
    I think Frazier is trying to become a complete offensive player and that is why his outside shot is a little off; hopefully he will figure it out.
    My hope is this team can be like KY last year and by the end of the year they will know who they are and finish strong. The talent is obvious, but they have to develop better chemistry which comes from playing. If they get comfortable in their roles and game flow, they will be a formidable team.

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