Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sports

Florida State pulls away from Central Florida 80-68

ORLANDO — Okaro White said his Florida State teammates were just thinking too much.

He would have known. The former Clearwater High standout had a good view from the bench, where he sat most of the first half of Wednesday's game at UCF while languishing in foul trouble.

In the second half, though, the Seminoles stopped thinking and started playing their tough defense-and-transition game, riding standout games from guards Ian Miller and Devon Bookert and a second-half surge from White to a 80-68 victory.

"They're a good team, but we just wanted to keep grinding and grinding, playing how we play Florida State basketball," said White, who scored 11 of his 13 in the second half. "We got more aggressive, and I got more aggressive (in the second half) because I was actually playing."

Miller scored a career-high 18 and Bookert added 17 as the Seminoles (2-0) won their 10th straight against the Knights (1-1). This was the first in UCF's home arena.

"Our game plan was to have more balance than we had, but of course, all of our big guys got in foul trouble," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "But (Wednesday) we got out in transition, and the ball was in our guards' hands, and for the most part, they made good decisions."

The Knights kept it tight in the first half thanks to 10 offensive rebounds to the Seminoles' four. The teams changed leads eight times before the Seminoles took it to halftime with a 38-33 lead.

But after five straight Knights points out of halftime, White and the Seminoles took control. The 6-foot-9 forward, who sat all but six minutes in the first half, juggled a pass, collected himself and hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 13-3 run in which he scored seven.

After Montay Brandon breezed through the UCF defense for back-to-back layups with 10 minutes left, the Seminoles had a 62-45 advantage.

Fueling the run was a rejuvenated transition game for FSU that led to several breakaway opportunities.

"I thought we did a very good job of once we got some deflections and steals and some long rebounds of pushing the ball down the court," Hamilton said. "We're improving in that area, and that's good to see."

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