GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s lopsided loss at No. 11 Florida left coach Leonard Hamilton contemplating a lineup change.
Hamilton said he is considering switching to a three-guard lineup following an 82-64 loss in Gainesville on Thursday night that exposed his team’s ability to handle the ball and defend the 3-point line.
The Seminoles (8-4) likely will insert Ian Miller into the starting five. Miller, who sat out the first semester because of academics, made his season debut against Florida and scored seven points in 22 minutes.
Luke Loucks led Florida State with 15 points and Terry Whisnant added 11. Antwan Space also made his season debut, giving Hamilton more options on the floor.
None of them worked.
“Our team is kind of in a flux a little bit,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to have to maybe put another perimeter guy in the game to take advantage of our depth in another way. We have not taken care of the ball very well. You turn the ball over 19 times against Florida, that’s not the right formula for success.”
Bradley Beal led Florida (10-2) with 21 points as the Gators extended their winning streak to five and their home winning streak to 12. Patric Young showed the best post moves of his career, a performance that included dunks, layups and several nifty hook shots with each hand.
More impressive was what he did on the other end of the floor.
Young scored 15 points and had a highlight-reel block — a left-handed gem that sparked a decisive second-half run.
“Whenever you block somebody’s shot and pull it down with one hand, that’s making ‘SportsCenter,'” Young said. “I just saw him going for the roll and I was able to time it right. I didn’t think I was going to rip it down. It was just perfect. It just came right in my hand.
“I’ve pinned someone’s dunk before. I haven’t ripped it out with one hand before, though.”
Florida State had no answer for Young inside and did little to slow down Beal’s long-range shooting and slicing drives. Seemingly more complex for the Seminoles (8-4) was Florida’s press. The result was a third consecutive loss in the series.
The Seminoles had eight turnovers in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, errors that fueled a 15-2 spurt that turned a two-point game into a lopsided affair.
“This Florida team is the most difficult team for us to beat, at least since I’ve been at Florida State,” Hamilton said. “They play so well together; they execute their system almost to perfection. You have little room for error.”
Beal and Young were keys, though.
Beal made 7 of 15 shots, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Young hit all seven of his shots, making the most of his low-post moves and hook shots.
Young’s block outshined everything else. He came out of nowhere to slap Bernard James’ baseline drive with his left hand, briefly pinned the ball against the backboard and then managed to cradle it in one hand. He followed with a dunk on the other end that pushed Florida’s lead to 44-36.
“That’s the best block I’ve had in my life,” Young said.
It electrified the O’Connell Center — and his teammates — and even impressed Hamilton.
“That was a very aggressive play that he made, as good as I’ve seen this year,” Hamilton said.
It energized the Gators, too.
Will Yeguete followed with a layup, Young capped a nifty reverse pivot with a baby hook and then Beal took over. The freshman had a baseline dunk, then a 3 from the elbow that made it 53-38.
Florida State entered the game with one of the nation’s top defenses, allowing 57.8 points a game and 34 percent shooting. The Gators outperformed both by a wide margin, scoring more points against the Seminoles than anyone this season and shooting 48 percent from the floor.
“They just laid it on us,” Loucks said. “Usually in a rivalry game you get a 6-0 run or an 8-0 run and you have to get it together, but for some reason we just couldn’t stop them.”
Source: Mark Long, Associated Press