TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Colin Castleton led two Gators in double figures with 25 points and nine rebounds as Florida defeated the Seminoles, 76-67, at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Will Richard scored 13 points for the Gators and Trey Bonham added 11 points and 3 assists of his own as Florida achieved their third win of the season to improve their record to 3-1.
Three Seminoles scored in double figures against Florida, with Junior Caleb Mills scoring a season high 21 points and five rebounds. Mills neared his career highs for field goals made and attempted with eight field goals made out of eighteen attempted (.444) for the night. He shot a perfect four for four from the free throw line, and was the highest scoring Seminole in the second half with 12 points.
Darin Green Jr. reached the coveted 1,000 career point mark after being the first Seminole to score in the game against Florida. Green went into the game with 998 points and quickly made route to the milestone statistic. Green scored 14 points and 2 rebounds in the rivalry game.
Matthew Cleveland played well as he scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Cleveland scored more points in Friday night’s game against Florida than in his last two games combined (UCF – five points, Troy – three points). Cleveland was five of 12 (.417) from the field and shot a perfect four of four from the free throw line.
Florida State dominated the entire first half against the Gators, taking a 19-point lead with less than a minute left until the intermission.
The Seminoles were 10 for 11 (.909) from the free throw line and 15 for 31 (48.4) from the paint in the first half. Cam’Ron Fletcher led the Seminoles at halftime with six rebounds and Green Jr. put up 12 points of his own to help the Seminoles lead the Gators at the intermission, 43-26. Green shot 2-2 from beyond the arc, with both three-pointers being made in the last three minutes of the half.
“I thought that we’ve always been able to fight pressure, and tonight I thought we gave into it,” said Hamilton. “Deflections, steals, they had stolen the ball from us about four times and I think they scored on all four of them. That’s their aggressiveness and our inability to handle the pressure.”
Florida gained control early in the second half, outscoring the Seminoles 19-2 over a five-minute period. The Gators had a .806 shooting percentage from the free throw line, shooting 21 of their 13 free throws in the second half alone. Florida shot 16 for 31 (.516) from the field and two for five (.400) from beyond the arc after the intermission. The Gators scored 23 points off of Florida State’s 16 turnovers.
“You have to give credit to Florida for just going out and doing what they had to do in the second half, putting themselves in a position to win,” said Hamilton. “It’s not easy going on the road, being down 17 at the half, and trying to figure out a way to win. Got to give them credit for their focus, their consistency throughout the game. We have tremendous respect for Florida’s program. We’ve given it our best shot, we had an upper hand the last couple of years, and rivalries don’t like that. We just have to adjust how we are going to perform with new additions and some guys we got back healthy and their confidence.”
The Seminoles will be back at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Monday, November 21 to face off against the Mercer Bears in a game that will tip off at 8pm ET. This will be the first match in ten years between the two teams, with Florida State holding a 16-9 winning record over Mercer.