Five in a row: FSU smothers UF, 81-60, for fifth straight win in series
Powered by balanced offense and suffocating defense, the No. 15 Florida State men's basketball team steamrolled rival Florida in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night, 81-60.
It marked FSU's fifth straight victory over the Gators, which is a new school record.
"I thought our veterans did a really good job defensively in the first half," FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We got an opportunity to get some of our inexperienced players into the game in the first half. And I thought they relaxed. And overall we came back in the second half and turned it up a notch.
"Our defense was excellent."
The Seminoles, who are coming off of a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, didn't miss a beat despite playing without leading scorer Phil Cofer, who is expected to miss a few more weeks with a preseason foot injury.
Florida State was led by three players in double-figures scoring -- senior guard PJ Savoy (20 points), junior guard Trent Forrest (13) and sophomore guard M.J. Walker (10). Savoy connected on 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range, and the Seminoles connected on 11 of 23 as a team.
"We've been working so hard this offseason just trying to get better as a team," said Forrest, who also had a team-high five assists. "I just feel like playing here, playing in front of our fans, was something we were ready to do."
Eleven different FSU players scored in the contest, as the Seminoles built their lead to 35 points with 5:31 remaining.
More impressive than the offense, however, was FSU's defensive effort. The Seminoles held UF to 37 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range. FSU also outscored the Gators at the free-throw line, 24-14.
"I thought Florida State was terrific," Florida head coach Mike White said. "I'm a little bit shell-shocked to be honest with you. I did not see that coming. ... That was 21. It could have been 40. As a head coach I don't think I've taken a bigger butt-whipping.
"They were really good."
The Seminoles' next game will be Sunday at Tulane.
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