- Jeff Barlis, College Football
- 0 Shares
Florida now has 12 consecutive home wins, while the Seminoles fell to 8-4.
Florida came into the game leading the nation with 11.2 3-pointers per game and was fifth in the nation in scoring 86.1 points per game. The Gators again took over the game with long-range shooting, although it took 28 attempts for Florida to hit 10 3-pointers. UF has hit 10 or more 3s in 10 of its 12 games this season.
"This Florida team is at least the most difficult team for us to beat, at least since I've been at Florida State," said coach Leonard Hamilton, whose Noles faced both of Florida's back-to-back national championship teams. "They play so well together. They execute their system almost to perfection. You have very little room for error.
"They're going to be tough for a lot of people to play against. You have to be a real good offensive team because they're going to score. They're going to put points on the board, so you've got to defend that, but you've got to make sure you keep pace with them offensively and then try to get a spread and win the game.
"The two teams they lost to -- Syracuse is an outstanding offensive team and Ohio State is loaded with talent as well. [Florida] won't lose very many more games this year."
Player of the game: Beal led the Gators' barrage of 3s by going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc on a night in which he was 7-of-15 from the floor overall. He also added six rebounds, a career-high three steals and was one of the few reliable Gators at the free-throw line (3-for-4). With all of his obvious talents, Beal's best quality might be his poise. He barely breaks a sweat, lets the game come to him with smart shots and has the ball-handling, explosive athleticism and shooting stroke to take over games. He did just that on Thursday night.
"When Brad's open, he shoots it," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "He got some good shots tonight. He had a couple of good drives to the basket, rebounded the ball and had some good shots at the 3-point line."
Stat of the game: Florida gets all the credit for its high-powered offense, but the Gators can play some defense, too. The Noles began the game shooting 1-of-12 from the field, which translated to a 14-2 start for the Gators. Florida State came into the game second in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage at .342 and fourth in opponents' points per possession at 0.79. Perhaps all the Noles' defensive accolades inspired the Gators to come out with such tight defense.
"We wanted to come in with the mindset that we're the best defensive team out here," Young said. "We don't get that much credit with our defense because our offense has been so great this year. We just wanted to show them from the get-go that they're not going to get anything easy, that we're going to be really physical, that we're going to pressure them, make them turn the ball over.
"Our defense was really great. That was probably one of the best defensive games we've had this year. We've just got to keep that up."
Play of the game: Young has come up big in some of Florida's most important wins lately. Against the Seminoles and their deep and rangy front line, he was a one-man wrecking crew. Young out-muscled the Noles all night, but had a true SportsCenter highlight of the night with his one-handed block/steal of a sure two-handed dunk by Bernard James. Then Young capped off the play by dunking on the other end.
Noteworthy: Florida is now 41-22 all time against FSU, 20-6 all time at home and has now won the annual game three years in a row. ... UF's well-known aversion to the free-throw line showed up with an 0-for-7 start to the game, but then it disappeared. The Gators finished the night 16-of-24 from the line, which included Walker's 8-of-10 performance. Walker's final two points put him one over the 1,500-career-points mark. ... Sophomore forward Will Yeguete continues to provide valuable minutes, as he led the Gators with eight rebounds and had three steals off the bench. ... Florida is now 275-36 when holding opponents to 70 points or less since the 1998-99 season. ... Guard Mike Rosario (strained lower back) missed his second straight game. Forward Cody Larson (strep throat) was available after a one-game absence, but did not play. ... Next up for Florida is a visit to Piscataway, N.J., to face Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Dec. 29. The game will be televised on ESPN2.