GAINESVILLE -- Without question, the Florida Gators played their best basketball in over two seasons during the first half of Tuesday's 68-52 win against Florida State.
The Rowdies were rocking in the O'Dome after the Gators built a dominating 20-point lead in the first half against a team it hadn't defeated since 2005. FSU charged back in the second half, cutting UF's lead to five, but the Gators absorbed the Noles' best punch -- literally, almost, when Dan Werner stood his ground against FSU's Jordan DeMercy and drew a charge -- and roared back to life with an impresseive 18-3 run.
Seven Gators scored at least six points and Kenny Boynton Jr., Alex Tyus and Erving Walker led UF with 13 each. Check The Miami Herald on Wednesday morning for my game story.
SECOND HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
Make that a 16-2 run after a Chandler Parsons 3-pointer. UF 59, FSU 41; 6:00.
--Gators with a considerable momentum swing here in the second half with a 12-0 run. O'Dome went absolutely bonkers when Ray Shipman dished a behind the back pass to Erving Walker on a fast break to give UF a 49-38 lead. UF athletic director Jeremy Foley stood up on press row and pumped his fist in approval.
Moments later Florida forced FSU's 22nd turnover of the game and UF extended its second-half run to 9-0 with a free throw from Alex Tyus followed by an offensive rebound by Chandler Parsons. Parsons showed his newfound and found Tyus under the basket with a brilliant assist. Tyus finished the play to give UF a 52-38 lead. Impressvie stuff from UF, which was in jeapordy of losing its 20-point halftime lead.
--FSU on a 19-2 run in the second half. FSU guard Derwin Kitchen with eight points in the second half and 13 in the game to lead FSU in scoring. UF and FSU now with 17 turnovers each. UF 43, FSU 38 with 11:47 left in the game.
--Kenny Boynton Jr. with the Gators' only points of the half (four) after a nice 18-footer. Gators playing sloppily in the second half. UF now with 16 turnovers, compared to 17 for FSU. UF leading 43-35 with 13:11 left in the game after leading by 20 at the break.
--FSU on an 8-0 run in the second half. Gators nearing FSU's mark of 16 turnovers. UF has 13 turnovers.
--UF's Kenny Boynton Jr. with his first points of the game on a runner in the lane. UF 41, FSU 21, 18:12 left in the second half.
--Hands down the best half of basketball Florida has played in two years. Wow! Incredible defense. Florida forced 16 first-half turnovers!
Ray Shipman and Alex Tyus lead the Gators in scoring with eight points each. And Shipman made his first 3-pointer of season. Tyus knocked down three mid-range jumpers after struggling from the field during UF's first three games.
The most surprising thing about the first half? Florida is up on FSU by 20 points and Kenny Boynton didn't score the entire first half.
FIRST HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
--Dan Werner ends the half with a steal and 3-pointer. FSU with 16 turnovers. Werner with his second 3-pointer in four minutes.
--Gators on an 21-4 run after back-to-back 3-pointers by Ray Shipman and Erving Walker. Shipman playing well. Eight points for Shipman. FSU with 13 turnovers. Wait, spoke too soon. Poor turnover by Shipman. Shipman out. Gators shooting 11 of 25 from the field and 2 of 7 from the 3-point range. Shipman leads the Gators in scoring. Kenny Boynton still scoreless.
--UF held FSU scoreless for more than six minutes (13:50-7:21). FSU's Derwin Kitchen broke the skid with put back.
--Gators on 11-0 run after Vernon Macklin dunk (great pass Dan Werner) and Ray Shipman steal and free throw. UF's defense is once again playing incredibly tonight. UF has forced nine turnovers and leads FSU 17-10 with 7:50 left in the half. UF's leading scorer Kenny Boynton has not scored. UF is out-rebounding FSU 12-7.
--Alex Tyus with his second mid-range jumper of the half to give UF a 14-10 lead with 9:33 to play. 8-0 UF run. Gators force another FSU turnover. Noles with eight turnovers. Tyus leads UF with six points.
--Gators on 6-0 run after forcing two Noles' turnovers. Parsons scored a tough reverse lay-up followed by a breakaway basket for Ray Shipman. Vernon Macklin makes it UF 12, FSU 10 with another nice move in the paint; 11:40 left in the first half.
--UF forces the Noles sixth tunover in the game's first eight minutes and Gators reserve scores a n
--Noles Chris Singleton with another 3-pointer. Wow! He's really filling it up. All 10 of FSU's points and shooting 4 of 4 from the field. Chandler Parsons answers with a tough reverse lay-up. FSU 10, Gators 8, 12:44.
--FSU's Chris Singleton with all seven of the Noels' points, including a 3-pointer with 15:06 left. FSU 7, UF 6. Gators and Noles with four turnovers each.
--Alex Tyus with a nice 15-foot jumper to give UF a 6-4 lead. Vernon Macklin with a pretty hook over 7-1 Solomon Alabi. UF's full-court press is giving FSU fits early on. Noles have turned it over three times in the game's first four minutes.
STARTING LINE-UPS BELOW
Florida State is looking big. Here are your starting line-ups for tonight's men's basketball game between the Florida Gators (3-0) and the Florida State Seminoles (3-0).
F Chris Singleton (6-9) 9.0/10.0
F Ryan Reid (6-8) 10.3/7.0
C Solomon Alabi (7-1) 12.3/6.3
G Devidas Dulkys (6-5) 12.7/4.3 apg
G Derwin Kitchen (6-4) 7.7/3.7 apg
F Dan Werner (6-8) 5.3/3.3
F Alex Tyus (6-8) 8.3/7.3
C Vernon Macklin (6-10) 10.0/7.0
G Kenny Boynton Jr. (6-2) 19.0/4.3 apg
G Erving Walker (5-8) 10.0/5.3 apg