TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – No. 20 Florida State extended its winning streak to seven over Florida with an 83-71 victory over the Gators at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles have defeated the Gators in each of the meetings between the two cross-state rivals every year since 2014. The victory was Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton’s school-record 11th win against Florida and his 74th career win over a nationally ranked team.
Freshman Scottie Barnes led the team with a career-high 17 points including several highlight reel dunks. Barnes also had five assists, two rebounds, and one steal as he finished as the Seminoles’ leader in assists in his first career game against the Gators.
The Seminoles improved to 3-0 while Florida moved to 3-1 on the season.
The win allowed the Seminoles to keep a number of impressive home court winning streaks alive. The Seminoles won their 26th straight home game, their 41st consecutive non-conference home game, and the fourth consecutive home game against the Gators. The Seminoles are now 68-3 (.958 winning percentage) in their last 71 home games dating back to a 77-56 win over Notre Dame on February 25, 2017.
The Seminoles recovered from an early eight-point deficit as they closed the first half on a 42-24 run to take a 45-35 lead at the break. Both Barnes (13 first half points) and Anthony Polite (12 first half points) scored in double figures for Florida State in the first half. The Seminoles utilized 12 different players in the first half with eight scoring at least two points.
Florida was led by Scottie Lewis who totaled 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. Lewis scored 13 first half points but was limited by the Florida State defense to just six second half points on just two made field goals. Sophomore Tre Mann scored 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Mann led the Gators in both rebounds and assists this game, helping the Gators outrebound Florida State by a 34-33 margin.
Polite’s 14 points surpassed his career high of 13 points which came against Virginia last season.
Senior M.J. Walker scored 17 points to mark the third consecutive game to begin the season in which he has scored at least 17 points. He was a perfect 12 of 12 from the free throw line and became just the fifth player in school history to make at least 12 of 12 free throws in a single game. The program record for free throw perfection in a single game is 16 of 16 by Bob Sura against South Florida on November 29, 1994.
Florida State made 23 of 30 free throws in Saturday’s victory – both season highs during the first three games of the season. In addition to Walker’s performance of 12 for 12, senior RayQuan Evans was a perfect three of three and Tanor Ngom was two of two from the line.
Sophomore Balsa Koprivica totaled six points as did senior Tanor Ngom as the Seminoles received strong contributions from the post players. Koprivica and Ngom combined to shoot five of nine from the field and two of three from the free throw line.
The Seminoles will face their first ACC opponent of the season on Tuesday, December 15th when Georgia Tech comes to the Donald L. Tucker Center. The game tips-off at 8:30 p.m. and will be aired on the ACC Network.