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December 5, 2012
The rivalry didn't look like much of a rivalry on this night.
Florida State was never a threat to the more experienced and polished Florida Gators, falling flat in a 72-47 loss at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Wednesday night.
Laden with turnovers and overmatched by Florida's skill, the loss for the young Seminoles (4-4) marks the third home loss in five tries and extends their early season skid.
The No. 6 Gators (7-0) jumped out to a 12-2 lead and never looked back, suffocating the Seminoles with efficient offense and a strong full court press. Florida State had 13 turnovers to go with its 15 first-half points leading to a 35-15 deficit at the break.
FSU wouldn't make it any closer in the second half.
"Tonight I thought we ran into one of the better teams we've played since I've been at Florida State," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
"So many times in the first we dug a hole for ourselves it was very hard to get out of."
As FSU continued to experience growing pains - six newcomers logged minutes on Wednesday - Florida was able to stretch its lead to 30 by the 13:52 mark and as high as 37 when UF took a 62-25 lead with nine minutes left.
The telling stat was turnovers; Florida scored 32 points off of 22 FSU turnovers, several of which were a product of UF's full court press.
"I feel like Florida State is very organized in terms of what they do offensively," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "And I think what we tried to do was be disruptive to that flow. I thought the zone (defense) was effective for us in both halves and I think the press was effective for us."
"We kind of got all out of whack (early) and it all pretty much went downhill from there," FSU forward Okaro White said.
The loss came with Andrew Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation, in attendance on the second day of a two-day official visit to FSU. His parents Mitchell Wiggins and Marita Payne-Wiggins, who both starred as basketball players at FSU, were honored during halftime. Andrew is expected to choose between FSU and Kentucky.
Wiggins was greeted with cheers, chants of "We want Wiggins" and home made signs throughout the arena. During the second half, Wiggins took photos and signed autographs in the stairway of a lower level section near his seat, causing a line to form.
Florida State shot 34.8 percent from the field and leading scorer Michael Snaer was limited to 10 points on 3 of 8 shooting. Snaer was held scoreless in the first half and didn't score until the game was well out of reach. Florida went 27 of 55 from the field (49.1 percent) and produced 14 steals. Four different Gators were in double figures led by Kenny Boynton's 14.
"It's like every time you gave them a good look, they made you pay," Hamilton said.
Wednesday's 25-point margin marked the biggest FSU loss to Florida since a 96-61 loss in 1999. FSU's 47-point output was also its lowest scoring total since playing home games in the Tucker Center.
Florida looks to get back above .500 when it takes on Maine on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
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