GAINESVILLE — Terance Mann scored 25, CJ Walker added 17 and Florida State upset No. 5 Florida 83-66 on Monday night to remain undefeated.
The Seminoles (7-0) also extended their winning streak against the Gators (5-2) to four, their longest in the 68-game history of the series.
Florida State’s length and athleticism posed problems all night. The Seminoles altered shots, forced turnovers, controlled the boards and didn’t allow Florida many clean looks, especially from long range.
Coach Mike White pleaded with his Gators to be more physical at halftime, but they didn’t respond. Now, Florida has a two-game losing streak and questions about its lofty ranking.
The Gators entered the game with the nation’s top offense, having averaged 99.6 points in their first six games. But they went cold down the stretch against top-ranked Duke in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon last week, and never found a rhythm against the Seminoles.
Florida blew a 17-point lead with 10 minutes left against the Blue Devils and lost 87-84. Big man Marvin Bagley dominated Florida inside in that one.
The 6-foot-6 Mann was the main culprit Monday.
Mann made 11 of 17 shots and added eight rebounds. Every time Florida looked like it would make a run, Mann answered on the other end. The junior had a tip-in and two three-point plays in the final eight minutes.
With Mann leading the way, Florida State outrebounded Florida 51-34, including 23-11 on the offensive glass. The Seminoles also outscored the Gators 36-20 in the paint and 12-2 on fastbreaks.
Florida guards Jalen Hudson (16 points), KeVaughn Allen (15), Egor Koulechov (11) and Chris Chiozza and were a combined 13 of 40 from the field, including 4 of 20 from 3-point range. Chiozza was scoreless until making three free throws down the stretch.
Equally troubling for the Gators: A season-high 17 turnovers.
The Seminoles lost Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, and in some regards, look better. They have enough talent and depth to give opponents fits, especially on the boards and in transition.
The Gators are in survival mode until 6-foot-11 center John Egbunu returns from a knee injury. Egbunu averaged 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds last season before tearing a ligament in his left knee at Auburn in February. The senior is expected to return in mid January, and Florida believes he will again be an imposing force in the paint. Egbunu holds the school’s single-season record for dunks (75 in 2015-16). In the meantime, the Gators are trying to compete with a four-guard lineup and no physical threats down low.
Up next for Florida State: a home game against Loyola-Maryland on Wednesday.
Up next for Florida: a home game against Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday.