They don’t start much uglier than Sunday afternoon’s FSU-Florida basketball game. At the half, the Seminoles were shooting 25% from the floor and 11% from three-point range. And both of those numbers were better than what the Gators were doing. But unlike UF, the ’Noles got it together in the second half, which facilitated a 63-51 win in Gainesville, Florida State’s sixth consecutive victory over their cross-state rivals from Hogtown.
The first half was so painful that I honestly wished I was watching the Lions-Bears game. The teams combined to make 12-51 field goals before the break, and 2-20 threes. Fans probably needed the intermission more than the players.
But the ’Noles moved the ball much better in the second half, which led to eight assists and 45% shooting, as well as 4-8 makes from downtown. FSU turned it over just three times after the break, and a respectable nine times all game, compared to 16 for the Gators. Offensive rebounds were a big problem early, as UF had 7 just 10 minutes in, but the Seminoles allowed only 6 in the final 30 minutes. They outscored Florida 26-18 in the paint, 15-8 on fast-break points, and came up with 8 steals.
The Gators never found any semblance of offensive rhythm, as the FSU defense held them to 28% shooting on the afternoon. The talented Kerry Blackshear, who transferred to Florida from Virginia Tech, didn’t record a single field goal.
We may be just two games into the season, but Devin Vassell looks poised for a big year. He led Florida State with 13 points, and Trent Forrest contributed 8 boards and 7 assists.