No. 15 Florida State basketball dropped their first game of the season, as UCF upset the ‘Noles by a score of 86-74. Through their first two games, UCF averages just 60.5 points per game, while shooting 35.9% from the field. After a two-week layoff, the Knights posted a scorching 57.1% in the second half. The upset was Florida State’s first state loss in their last 32 contests played in Florida.
UCF got off to a scorching start from the field. The Knights made their first three triples, including two from Darin Green Jr. Balsa Koprivica got a quick four paints in the point and Scottie Barnes drained third triple of the year to get Florida State started from beyond the arc. The hot start gave UCF a five-point lead at the first media timeout of the game.
M.J. Walker quickly pulled the ‘Noles even with the Knights out of the timeout, with a three-pointer and two free throws. RaiQuan Gray drained two triples of his own and dropped in a layup on the break to rip off a personal 8-0 run. After the hot start, Florida State held the Knights without a point for just over four minutes, as the ‘Noles entered the U-12 media timeout with a 21-13 lead.
Florida State opened the lead behind their defensive efforts. UCF turned the ball over on 31% of their possessions through the first 11 minutes of the game. The UCF turnovers led to FSU offense. The Seminoles posted nine points off turnovers through the first 12 minutes of the game, as they held a 29-21 lead with 7:50 left in the half.
The Seminoles offense stalled over for a large portion of the rest of the half, as they were scoreless for 5:55. During the drought, UCF attacked Florida State’s paint to bring the game back to even with a 10-0 run.
Freshman Isaiah Adams did the majority of the work for the Knights. He put up an early 16 points, including three free throws which gave UCF a 3-point lead with 3:46 left in the half. Walker woke up the Seminoles late in the half, draining two jumpers, including a triple, to retake a lead.
Florida State entered halftime with a 39-34 lead. The first half was 20 minutes of runs between the Knights and Seminoles. Despite a scoring drought which lasted almost six minutes, the ‘Noles still held the lead at half. FSU’s three-point shooting led to the first half lead, as they were 6-13 for three. After making their first three triples, UCF was just 3-9 from deep for the half. Walker led the way for FSU with 11 points, while Gray added eight.
Anthony Polite started FSU off on the right foot in the second half, drained an open corner three on Florida State’s first possession. But UCF found their stroke from deep again, just like the first four minutes of the game. The Knights drained three deep balls within the first three minutes, two coming off the hands of Green Jr. His third three of the half gave UCF a 47-46 lead with 14:17 remaining.
Gray picked up his fourth foul and was forced out of the game, leading to a UCF run. With the momentum turning back in UCF’s favor, Walker came up clutch for the Seminoles again. The senior leader drained a deep triple to tie the game at 49. But then it was another Knight who caught fire from the field. Seven straight points from Brandon Mahan opened up a seven-point UCF lead halfway through the second half.
With Gray out, Florida State’s best and most consistent defender, due to foul trouble, UCF lit up the nets in the Tucker Center. After Gray’s fourth foul, the Knights went on a 16-5 run, to open up a 60-51 lead. After a Leonard Hamilton timeout, Polite drained a triple to cut the lead to six, but UCF ‘s offense seemed unstoppable. From the 11:58 to 7:31 mark, the Knights made seven straight field goals.
With Gray back in the game, Florida State started to cut into the UCF lead. Four straight points from Gray cut the lead down to five with 6:05 remaining. Two missed free throws by walk-on Harrison Prieto, who got crucial minutes down the stretch of the game, were a damper to FSU’s momentum. But once again the senior leader stepped up, as Walker drained a three to cut the lead down to four at the last media timeout of the game.
UCF got the momentum right back behind the play of their freshman star. Adams laid home an and-1 over RayQuan Evans with 2:36 remaining. The and-one was the dagger for the Knights, as they upended the Seminoles in the Tucker Center. The UCF win snapped a 27-game home winning streak for the ‘Noles.
UCF’s trio of Darrin Green Jr., Isaiah Adams, and Brandon Mahan combined for 74 points. Florida State was led by Walker’s 22 points. Gray also posted a career high 14 points. FSU shot 47.8% on the night. UCF out-rebounded the ‘Noles by seven. The Knights dominated on the break all night, as they had 18 more fast-break points than FSU.
Florida State will have a quick turnaround, playing Gardner-Webb on Monday at 7:00 PM in the Tucker Center.