Scottie Barnes leads the way as Florida State defeats Florida 83-71
The streak continues.
On Saturday at the Civic Center in front of 2,600 fans, Florida State continued his dominance against the Florida Gators.
The Seminoles have now won a school-record seventh consecutive games against the Gators with their 83-71 victory. The Seminoles' winning streak against the Gators dates back to December 30, 2014.
Scottie Barnes led the way with 17 points, five assists, and two rebounds. M.J. Walker finished with 17 points as he successfully converted on all 12 of his free throws. Anthony Polite also had 12 points on 3 of 5 shooting.
The game also had a scary moment early in the first half when UF's Keyontae Johnson collapsed near midcourt and was rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. According to the school, at the hospital overnight.
Florida got off to a great start early as they took an 11-3 lead as FSU coach Leonard Hamilton took a time out with 16:18 left in the first half. The Seminoles turned the ball over four times just four minutes into the game as they also shot just 20% from the field.
"We had moments in the game where we showed pretty good potential," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "But at the beginning of the game, their style of defense was really effective against us. We called a timeout there because we were down and our guys made a pretty good adjustment."
After the timeout, Johnson collapsed on the court as he was stretched off the court by trainers. Johnson was standing and suddenly fell forward onto his face, unable to stop himself. That's when a stretcher came out to take Johnson off the floor as he was taken to TMH.
Johnson going down completely changed Florida's early momentum.
FSU proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to draw to 11-10. But then the Gators went on a 7-1 run with 11:08 left in the first half.
Later in the first half, FSU began to go on a run as they were down 23-14. The Seminoles would score the next 14 points to take the 28-23 lead with 5:30 left before halftime.
The three-point shot helped get FSU back in the game, the Seminoles were 6 of 11 from behind the arc before halftime. Polite led the Seminoles with three baskets from long range.
After halftime, it was all FSU as they continued to extend its lead over Florida after the Gators struggled from the field. Florida shot just 38% in the second half as they contributed to the Seminoles widened their lead to 16 points with seven minutes left in the game.
Three-point shooting was key in the comeback
Florida was up nine in the first half as they appeared to have a hold on the game. But that's when FSU's three-point shooting came up huge.
The Seminoles converted 6 of 12 three-pointers in the first half as that would help FSU go on a 17-0 run. Three of those three-pointers would come from Polite as he was 3 of 4 for the day.
FSU would finish with 8 of 16 three-pointers in the game.
In the win against Indiana, FSU shot well from long range as they made 40% of its three-pointers. That certainly carried over to Saturday's game against the Gators.
Hamiton says he just wants to see FSU become more consistent from the three-point line moving forward.
"I need to see some more consistently so we can gauge where we are," Hamilton said. "When you're inconsistent where you have one game where you shoot well and one game you don't, that concerns me as a coach.
"We showed the potential when we move the ball well, set ball screens, penetrate and get kick-outs, we are going to get some of those three-point shots. Tonight we had moments, but we were not consistent with it the whole game."
Barnes had a coming-out party
After scoring just eight and nine points in FSU's wins over North Florida and Indiana, Saturday was a bit of a coming-out party for Barnes.
The freshman led the Seminoles in scoring in the first half with 13 on 5 of 6 shooting. He would end the day with 17 points and five assists.
"There's no doubt he showed potential," Hamilton said. "He is showing the ability we always knew he had. He made pretty good decisions with the ball and he did some athletic things."
Barnes' highlight play would come with a minute left in the first half as he elevated for a one-handed slam. Then Barnes would come back down the floor and score another two points on a layup.
As he adjusts to point guard, Barnes is finding was contribute in other ways. But Saturday showed that Barnes can also score buckets when the Seminoles need him to.
FSU's defense was once again big
FSU forced 10 turnovers in the first half as that helped the Seminoles get back into the game as they were down as much as nine at one point. After Florida converted four three-pointers early on, the Gators struggled coming out of halftime.
The Gators scored just 10 points eight minutes into the second half as FSU was able to extend its lead to 62-45 as Florida was shooting 33% from the floor. The Seminoles were also able to limit Scottie Lewis, who scored 13 points in the first half to just six points after halftime.
Florida's offense would get going towards the end of the game as the Gators brought the lead down to 10, but they would run out of time.
Despite FSU's second-half success defensively, Hamilton said the Seminoles still have a lot to work on.
"We should that we still have guys that are indecisive a lot and that showed throughout the game," Hamilton said. "I'm hopeful we can continue to keep winning while we are growing and developing. I saw some things I really liked but we showed we are still a work in progress."
The Seminoles are back at home on Tuesday when they play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-2). That will began ACC conference play for the Seminoles.
Tip-off for the game will be at 8:30 p.m.
Reach Antwan Staley at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
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