TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A young but talented Florida State hopes its 83-78 victory Sunday over No. 21 Florida is the first of many big wins with Atlantic Coast Conference play set to start in two weeks.
"Tonight we showed the world what we can become and what we have in hold for the future," said Dwayne Bacon, who scored a season-high 24 points.
It is the Seminoles' first victory over a ranked nonconference team at home since they beat the Gators on Dec. 7, 2008.
Coach Leonard Hamilton was even a little leery about what to expect going into the game. Florida had already faced some good tests in Miami, Gonzaga and Duke but Florida State was not as tested and had won its past three games by an average of 41 points.
FSU (10-1) struggled for the first 10 minutes, committing seven turnovers as Florida (7-3) scored 15 of its first 19 points off turnovers. The Gators would lead by as many as five before the Seminoles started to settle down and take a 36-34 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Bacon took over. The sophomore guard scored nine points during a 15-4 run early in the second half that helped the Seminoles take control after it was tied at 38.
"I thought in the second half we played with a little bit more poise and executed better," Hamilton said. "We had some moments where we were indecisive but had quick recoveries. This is type of game that helped grow up a little bit."
Florida State led by 13 midway through the second half before the Gators started to slowly chip away. Florida used a 14-5 run to get within three, but could not get closer.
"They were terrific offensively in the second half. Bacon got them going not necessarily him scoring but breaking down our defense," Florida coach Mike White said. "In the second half we were not the same team defensively. We got to maintain that energy and intensity level."
Terance Mann had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
Kasey Hill scored a career-high 21 points for Florida, and KeVaughn Allen added 15.
Said Hill of Bacon's game: "He just straight-line drives. You've got to step in front of him and cut him off and we didn't do that."
Florida: Coach Mike White said before the game that he wanted to see his team play with more poise and also play with more consistency when it found itself on the other end of a scoring run. This loss proves that the Gators still have a ways to go in that area before they open Southeastern Conference play Dec. 29 at Arkansas.
Florida State: The Seminoles nearly squandered a 13-point lead. But unlike the Temple game, which they lost by three after leading by 18, they were able to hold on and get their third win in non-conference play against a team from a Power Five conference.
Florida could drop out of the Top 25 after dropping both of its games this week. Florida State was ranked for a week in late November and could make a bid to return after winning six straight.
The Seminoles have won three straight over the Gators for the first time in eight years. It is the fourth time in series history they have a three-game winning streak over the Gators.
Florida: The Gators will have their final game of their 11-game road trip to start the season on Saturday against Charlotte in the second game of the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida.
Florida State: The Seminoles have finals this week and do not have their next game until Saturday when they face Manhattan in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida.
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