Dwayne Bacon’s big shot lifts FSU past Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton had no doubt freshman Dwayne Bacon would take the final shot in the closing seconds.
Florida probably should have reconsidered who was defending him.
Bacon scored 24 points, including a pull-up jumper with 4.6 seconds remaining, and the Seminoles beat the rival Gators 73-71 on Tuesday night.
Bacon made 9 of 17 shots, none bigger than the 10-footer from the lane on FSU’s final possession. Hamilton called the play during a timeout and got an ideal matchup when guard Kasey Hill, who is 6 inches shorter than Bacon, was unable to affect the shot.
"He made a big shot," Gators coach Mike White said. "We forced a pull-up jumper. I wish it was a little bit more contested, wish we had made it a little bit more difficult on him. He stepped up and made another huge play."
The Seminoles (10-2) needed it to hold of Florida (8-4), which rallied from a 13-point deficit to tie the game at 71 with 23 seconds to play.
"We had the ball at the end and Dwayne made a great shot," Hamilton said. "It does say a lot about the confidence we have in him. He seems to be growing up in leaps and bounds with his confidence and his ability to make plays. I thought he had a calmness about him tonight, where he didn’t really force anything. It allowed the offense to come to him, and I think our guys were looking for him and he was able to knock some shots down. And they were big shots. Every shot he made tonight was very important."
The same could be said for Florida freshman KeVaughn Allen, who scored a career-high 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
But Allen missed his final five shots, including an open 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining that would have given the Gators their first lead since early in the game.
"He’s just an outstanding player," Hamilton said. "I watched him a lot in high school. It was just a matter of time before he was going to break out and have one of these games. You can sit back and relax and enjoy the ride because you’re going to see a lot more nights like this from him because he’s a great potential player. He showed the nation tonight what he’s all about."
Allen carried Florida for most of the night. Dorian Finney-Smith’s layup made it 71-all in the final minute, but Bacon put the Seminoles back out in front for good.
Florida had one final shot, but Chris Chiozza’s desperation heave from 35 feet was off line. The Seminoles mobbed Bacon near midcourt, celebrating their second consecutive win against their in-state rival.
Devon Bookert and Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished with 11 points apiece for Florida State. Malik Beasley had 10.
Hill and Finney-Smith had 10 points each for the Gators. Hill also had five turnovers.
Allen was the first Florida player to score at least 30 points since Michael Frazier II had 37 at South Carolina in March 2014.
The final got all the attention, but the end of the first half may have been the difference. The Seminoles ended the half with a 10-0 run that started with Bacon’s trey and ended with Bookert’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. "That was very important. That was critical. I think that probably was the most important part of the game," Hamilton said.
Florida State: Has its first winning streak against Florida since 2008, when it won three in a row. … Is off to its best start under Hamilton since opening 10-1 during the 2008-09 season.
Florida: Extended its 3-point streak to 809 games. Gators have made at least one trey in every game since Jan. 11, 1992. … Played without forwards Alex Murphy (foot) and Schuyler Rimmer (back). Murphy reinjured a plantar fascia tear Sunday and missed his 10th game of the season. Rimmer sat out his third straight game.
Florida State plays at Clemson on Saturday.
Florida hosts Georgia on Saturday.
- Devon Bookert
- Dwayne Bacon
- Florida Gators
- Florida State Seminoles
- FOX Sports Florida
- FOX Sports Florida - Gators
- FOX Sports Florida - Seminoles
- Malik Beasley
- Xavier Rathan-Mayes