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No. 20 Florida State basketball catches fire for seventh straight win over Florida

Scottie Barnes, MJ Walker lead ‘Noles to a dominant win.

Mike Olivella

No. 20 Florida State basketball took home their seventh straight win over the Florida Gators by a score of 83-71. The Seminoles got off to a sluggish start, but quickly kicked it into gear. UF jumped on FSU early, en-route to a nine-point lead, but it was all Seminoles after that. After struggling to find the bottom of the basket against the Indiana Hoosiers, FSU lit it up from the field Saturday.

Florida got off to a hot start from deep, as they hit their first two threes of the game. The Seminoles got off to a sloppy start, with four turnovers less than four minutes into the game. Leonard Hamilton called a quick timeout just under four minutes into the game, after a Keyontae Johnson alley-oop slam opened up an 11-3 lead.

Coming out of the timeout, Johnson collapsed on the floor walking back onto the floor. The junior forward was stretchered off the court and sent to the hospital after a few minutes down on the floor. UF players and coaches were obviously shaken and emotional on the bench by the loss of their leading scorer, but the game continued on after about 10 minutes of silence in the Tucker Center.

The ‘Noles woke themselves up after the timeout, as Anthony Polite and Scottie Barnes drilled corner threes to cut the early deficit to two. But the Seminoles struggled to maintain that form. At the U-12 media timeout, FSU was just 4-14 from the field, as the home team trailed 18-12 after Scottie Lewis’ second triple of the game.

Finally, the Seminoles caught fire from the field with M.J. Walker and Polite sparking a 17-0 run. Walker first cracked the score board with a corner three, before making four straight free throws. Polite drilled two more corner threes to open up a 31-23 FSU lead with five minutes left in the half.

If you didn’t realize it yet, Barnes is an absolute freak athlete, and he put it all on display to end the half. The freshman phenom went on a personal 8-2 run, including a “poster of the year” candidate, and a left-handed layup and-one. Barnes can likely use the tape from the final two minutes of the half as his full scouting video:

The Seminoles entered halftime with a 45-35 lead, sparked by a 31-12 run to end the half. The ‘Noles shot 54% from the field, making 10 of their last 12 shots. Leonard Hamilton’s squad also went 6-12 from deep. Florida State forced 10 turnovers, while turning the ball over just four times in the last 16 minutes. Barnes led the way with 13 points on 5-6 shooting. Polite also put up 12 points with four boards.

Balsa Koprivica had a scoreless first half, but came out of the locker room with three straight dunks as the ‘Noles extended their lead to 13. Sardaar Calhoun was also scoreless in the first half, but made a quick impact in the second. Calhoun drained a three, before stripping a Gator of the ball down the court. The steal, followed by a good pass from Rayquan Evans led to another Barnes poster as the Seminoles opened up an 18-point lead:

The Gators hung around behind the play of Tre Mann, as he posted 10 of Florida’s first 20 points in the second half, as he was 4-8 from the field in the first 11 minutes. But the Seminoles kept it a double-digit gap by attacking the paint and making open threes. A Wyatt Wilkes triple gave the Seminoles a 71-55 lead at the U-8 media timeout.

The senior leader Walker put the exclamation point on the Seminoles’ seventh straight win over UF. Walker got in on the poster party, landing a right-handed tomahawk slam over a Gator, before promptly stepping over his victim:

FSU was led by the trio of Walker, Barnes, and Polite. The three combined for 48 of the Seminoles’ 83 points, while shooting 13-21 from the field. Barnes had five assists and Polite grabbed five boards.

The Seminoles shot the ball at a 48% clip, while hitting eight of 16 threes. FSU turned the Gators over 20 times. 17 of Florida State’s 26 buckets came off assists. After a tough night from the charity stripe on Wednesday, FSU bounced back by making 23 of 30 free throws (Walker was 12-12).

Florida State next plays on Tuesday, opening up ACC competition against Georgia Tech in the Tucker Center at 8:30 PM.