Dec 6, 2002
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Matt Bonner was worried, but the ball bounced right for the eighth-ranked Gators, who beat Florida State 58-57 Friday night when Tim Pickett’s last-second shot bounced off the rim.
“Oh, not again, not again,” said Bonner, recalling a 68-66 loss Tuesday night at West Virginia on a long jumper in the final minute by the Mountaineers’ Joe Herber.
The 6-foot-10 Bonner had been the man all night keeping, Florida ahead of the pesky Seminoles, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the second half along with making several big defensive plays .
“He hit some tough shots,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
But it took two free throws by freshman Anthony Roberson with 25 seconds left to give Florida a 58-55 lead before 12,060.
“Obviously it was a big atmosphere,” Roberson said. “The gym was as loud as I’ve ever been in my life. I was just concentrating. I just took my time.”
Roberson added 16 points for Florida, hitting 4-of-10 tries from 3-point distance.
“It was falling for me tonight,” he said.
But it was a tough shooting night for just about everyone else.
Pickett had 23 points, but was just 5-for-15 from 3-point range, including the game’s final shot.
“I felt like it was going in,” Pickett said. “It was a tough loss, but we’ll get it next time.”
Hamilton was satisfied with the last shot.
“He had a good look,” Hamilton said. “I would rather Pickett be shooting that shot than somebody else shooting a layup.”
Florida coach Billy Donavon was relieved to escape with a win after his team’s fourth road game in nine days.
“It was an ugly game offensively,” said Donavon, who asked Bonner at halftime to score more and be more aggressive. “Bonner played an exceptional game in the second half.
“We got beat by a team that played a little better than we did tonight. We’re just not in sync yet with our offense. Their is a lot of uncertainty about our offensive game.”
Pickett’s 3-point basket with 2:35 left pulled Florida State within 56-55, and neither team scored again until Roberson’s free throws.
Pickett rebounded a missed free throw by Florida’s Justin Hamilton with 10 seconds left, dribbled downcourt and tried his 15th 3-point attempt of the game.
Andrew Wilson, who added 11 points for the Seminoles, sank two free throws with 12 seconds left to bring Florida State within a point before Hamilton was fouled on the inbounds pass.
Despite shooting just 27.6 percent, Florida led 25-24 at halftime as Florida State struggled as well. The Seminoles hit on just 30 percent of their shots.
Both teams warmed up slightly in the second half, but still suffered poor shooting nights. Florida made only 34.5 percent of its tries and Florida State managed 37.5 percent.