Noles Upset Gators
"This was a game that brought the best out of our team," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We all know that we have been inconsistent with this kind of effort this season. Unfortunately it took an instate rival - at home - to get us to play with the effort an intensity we need."
Sophomore swingman Von Wafer connected on a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points.
Adam Waleskowski (18 points), Al Thornton (17) and Alexander Johnson (ten) out muscled and out hustled the Gators on the interior, each nearly turning in double-double performances. Combined, the trio totaled 26 rebounds, more than the 20 that the entire Gator roster produced.
"We knew it was going to be a physical game,said Waleskowski, who helped the Seminoles out rebound the Gators 44-20. "We just came in with the mindset that we would have to get it done inside."
"Coach kept telling us that hitting the boards would give us more possessions and wasy points," added Thornton.
FSU also helped its cause from the perimeter. The Seminoles shot 60 percent (9-of-15) from beyond the arc.
"I've been trying to find answers so far this season," Wafer said. "It felt different out there tonight."
The Gators were without the services of leading-scorer Matt Walsh, who sat out with an ankle injury. David Lee wasn't much help either - the talent post player contributed just one field goal, four points and sat much of the second half.
Offensively, UF crutched on Anthony Roberson, who finished with 22 points. Roberson connected on a short jumper from the elbow that pulled the Gators to within 67-58 with 5:54 to play.
They never got any closer.
"The one thing they have done consistently is play defense," said UF coach Billy Donovan, whose team averaged 93.7 points in its prior three outings. "When you lose your leading scorer it hurts you but I don't want that to take anything away from this. I don't think having Matt Walsh would have been the difference maker."
The Seminoles, who never trailed, jumped out to a 17-10 lead out of the gate. UF stormed right back and tied it up at 17 with a reverse lay-in from 7-footer Joekim Noah.
FSU answered and held a two-possession lead for much of the remainder of the half until ripping off a 10-2 run in the final 1:25 before intermission. The Seminoles scored five points in the final 5.6 seconds of the half - Wafer connected from beyond the arc just after Al Thornton swished two free throws he was awarded after he was intentionally fouled.
"We built ourselves a hole there," Donovan said. "If we would not have had that spell there things might (have been different)."
Lee Humphrey pitched in with 15 points for the Gators, who enter Southeastern Conference play with a home date opposite Arkansas Jan. 8. The Seminoles (0-1, ACC) enter a stretch of ten straight Atlantic Coast Conference games Jan. 8 at home against Virginia Tech.
"We needed this type of game in this type of setting," Hamilton said. "Maybe this game will be a springboard for us."
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