Florida-Florida St. Preview

While Florida State’s football team ended a major run of

futility against Florida this weekend, the Seminoles have fared

much better in the series on the hardwood – especially at home.

The Seminoles will look hand the No. 16 Gators a fourth straight

loss in Tallahassee and complete a big weekend for Florida State

athletics Sunday night.

Florida State snapped its six-game losing streak against Florida

in football with a 31-7 rout Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium,

where the Gators had won their previous three visits.

Coach Billy Donovan’s club hasn’t been as fortunate on the court

at the Donald L. Tucker Center, where Florida (4-1) has not won

since a 58-57 victory Dec. 6, 2002.

Florida State (5-0) is eager to prove itself after winning its

first five games by an average of 23.2 points. This starts a major

three-day stretch, with No. 3 Ohio State visiting Tuesday in the

ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

“We’ve just got to go out there and take advantage of this

unique and special opportunity we have with the University of

Florida coming in to play us on Sunday,” coach Leonard Hamilton

said. “We can’t enjoy the luxury of looking past them to the second

game. First things first.”

Chris Singleton has been named the ACC player of the week, and

enters with four straight double-doubles. He’s shooting 54.9

percent and averaging 17.4 points, as he looks to improve on career

numbers against Florida of 30.0 percent shooting and an 11.0

scoring average in two games.

“Each game we go into is a measuring stick to see where we are,

but this is one of the bigger games we have early on our schedule,”

Singleton said. “So we get to see where we are. I’m looking forward

to it.”

Singleton was bottled up with a season-low 10 points to go with

13 rebounds in Tuesday’s 79-55 victory over Mercer. Xavier Gibson

provided a boost with 17 points after totaling 24 in the first four

games.

The Gators are playing their first road game of the season after

another lackluster home victory, 79-66 over Florida Atlantic on

Tuesday. They beat Morehead State 61-55 two days earlier.

The early results have caused coach Donovan to lower

expectations for his team, which was ranked ninth in the

preseason.

“I think we have a long way to go to be considered an elite

team,” Donovan said. “That’s who we are. We’re trying to take the

next step.”

Alex Tyus had 19 points in Tuesday’s win, and the Gators are

looking for the senior forward to provide more of a post presence

than he has to this point. Tyus totaled 22 points and 15 rebounds

in his first three games.

The Gators ended their three-game overall skid in this series

with a 68-52 home victory last season. Florida built a 20-point

halftime lead, and withstood a run by the Seminoles that saw them

get as close as five.

Derwin Kitchen, who signed with Florida and never enrolled with

the Gators, led the Seminoles with 15 points.