No. 11 Florida uses big 2nd half to beat FSU 82-64

The Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Patric Young showed the best post moves of his career, a performance that included dunks, layups and several nifty hook shots with each hand.

More impressive was what he did on the other end of the floor.

Young scored 15 points and had a highlight-reel block - a left-handed gem that sparked a decisive second-half run - and No. 11 Florida beat rival Florida State 82-64 on Thursday night.

''Whenever you block somebody's shot and pull it down with one hand, that's making 'SportsCenter,''' Young said. ''I just saw him going for the roll and I was able to time it right. I didn't think I was going to rip it down. It was just perfect. It just came right in my hand.

''I've pinned someone's dunk before. I haven't ripped it out with one hand before, though.''

Bradley Beal led Florida (10-2) with 21 points as the Gators extended their winning streak to five and their home winning streak to 12.

Florida State had no answer for Young inside and did little to slow down Beal's long-range shooting and slicing drives. Seemingly more complex for the Seminoles (8-4) was Florida's press. The result was a third consecutive loss in the series.

The Seminoles finished with 19 turnovers, including eight in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. All those errors helped fuel a 15-2 spurt that turned a two-point game into a lopsided affair.

''This Florida team is the most difficult team for us to beat, at least since I've been at Florida State,'' FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. ''They play so well together; they execute their system almost to perfection. You have little room for error.''

Luke Loucks led Florida State with 15 points and Terry Whisnant added 11. Ian Miller and Antwan Space made their season debuts, giving Hamilton more options on the floor.

None of them worked.

Florida had all five starters in double figures for the second consecutive game. Kenny Boynton finished with 14 points, Erik Murphy added 12 and Erving Walker chipped in 11.

Beal and Young were keys, though.

Beal shot 7 of 15, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Young hit all seven of his shots, making the most of his low-post moves and hook shots.

Young's block outshined everything else. He came out of nowhere to slap Bernard James' baseline drive with his left hand, briefly pinned the ball against the backboard and then managed to cradle it in one hand. He followed with a dunk on the other end that pushed Florida's lead to 44-36.

''That's the best block I've had in my life,'' Young said.

It electrified the O'Connell Center - and his teammates - and even impressed Hamilton.

''That was a very aggressive play that he made, as good as I've seen this year,'' Hamilton said.

It energized the Gators, too.

Will Yeguete followed with a layup, Young capped a nifty reverse pivot with a baby hook and then Beal took over. The freshman had a baseline dunk, then a 3 from the elbow that made it 53-38.

''Big momentum for us,'' Boynton said. ''He got that block, then he came down and got a dunk, and everybody off the bench jumped up. That got the crowd into it.''

Florida State entered the game with one of the nation's top defenses, allowing 57.8 points a game and 34 percent shooting. The Gators outperformed both by a wide margin, scoring more points against the Seminoles than anyone this season and shooting 48 percent from the floor.

''They just laid it on us,'' Loucks said. ''Usually in a rivalry game you get a 6-0 run or an 8-0 run and you have to get it together, but for some reason we just couldn't stop them.''

Florida played short-handed again, with guard Mike Rosario out for the second consecutive game. Rosario missed several days of practice because of a strained back and was unavailable. Forward Cody Larson missed Florida's last game with strep throat. He was available, but only played the final few seconds.

Gators coach Billy Donovan said Rosario is doubtful to play at Rutgers next Thursday, meaning the transfer might have to sit out against his former team.

''I would be shocked if he played,'' Donovan said.

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