Florida State will attempt to build on its three-game winning streak against the Gators.
What it means: One week after choking away a massive lead against No. 1 Duke, Florida laid down for its hated rival at home.
Florida had its worst offensive performance of the season, scoring fewer than one point per possession (0.89) for the first time this season.
Florida (5-2) suffered its fourth straight loss to the Seminoles and its first home loss of the season.
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Florida made only 6 of 25 3-pointers, a big reason the Gators struggled to rally.
Florida coach Mike White said the Gators spent the last 24 hours talking about throwing the first punch in a rivalry game. However, tonight should be Florida's night. Ballard finished with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds, only committing one turnover in 21 minutes. "I don't know what to say", White said when asked if he could do anything improve the team's rebounding. Having Egbunu healthy ... that would help. We're more skilled. We score better.
Jalen Hudson scored 16 points to lead Florida, while KeVaughn Allen ended with 15 in the defeat, as the SEC outfits lost for a second straight time to an ACC opponent, following the defeat to No. 1 Duke in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon last week.
"It's probably going to be a track meet", Cofer said. "Florida brought out the best in us tonight and hopefully we can continue to play that way". On any given day, any of the Seminoles can lead the team in scoring, and against Rutgers, it was CJ Walker with a career-high 24 points and Phil Cofer with 19, but for the year, guard Terance Mann has been the top threat, hitting 66.7 percent of his shots for an average of 15.3 points per game, followed by Cofer with 14.2 points per game on 64.2 shooting from the field. Egor Koulechov finished with 11 points for the Gators, but was just 4-for-13, thanks largely to a cold shooting second half. "I think this is where we need to get back together as a team ... work hard and get mentally tougher and find other ways to win because we're not going to be hitting 15 3s every game".
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Jalen Hudson swung the lead back in Florida's favor at the 2:45 mark with a attractive drive to the basket, going coast to coast and picking up the foul (though he did not convert at the line). The Gators are 5-1 on the season and 4-2 against the spread.
It caught up to them a bit against Duke, although the Gators still shot 40 percent from 3 and were efficient enough offensively. The over/under total for the contest has been set at 163.5 points.
Hudson put Florida up 34-33 before the Seminoles closed the half on an 8-0 run.
"We played aggressive, with enthusiasm and toughness", FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. FSU also had its way on the boards, outrebounding the Gators 28-21 in the first and outscoring Florida 14-6 in second-chance points. The Gators have played much better competition this season and been able to look much better doing it. They combined to start 9-1 in 2011. Florida took a 35-34 lead late in the half before senior forward Cofer helped Florida State bounce back.
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