Monstrous 2nd half leads Florida to first win at Florida State since 2012

Florida defeated Florida State 76-67 behind a huge 2nd half from the Gators on Friday night. Todd Golden’s squad went on a 33-5 run after halftime and outscored FSU 50-24 in the 2nd half to come back from a late-first half 19-point deficit to win the game. It marked the fourth-largest comeback in program history and second-largest for the Gators on the road. 

Todd Golden says that aggression was the difference between the two halves. 

“I thought we were going to be well-prepared for this game, and we didn’t play like it in the first half, though,” Golden said. “I thought we played on our heels. I didn’t think we were aggressive enough. We weren’t shot-ready when we got penetration kick-outs in the first half. They blocked a couple of our threes. We just didn’t have a punch to us, and that was disappointing. We addressed it at halftime. Obviously, we changed a couple things. Defensively, we really tried to turn up the heat and the pressure because I felt like they were too comfortable offensively in the first half. I thought Trey Bonham did a great job early on in the second half – and really the whole game – of putting pressure at the top of their offense.”

Junior guard Trey Bonham had played just 21 minutes total in the first three games of the season. He registered 20 minutes against FSU and started the 2nd half. Bonham had a major impact on this game with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He brought intensity on the defensive end as well, adding two steals and a block to the stat sheet.  

“It was toughness,” Bonham said after the game. “We knew we were being soft, and they were getting lots of layups. It was really defensive. We knew shots were going to fall, and we didn’t make shots in the first half, so defensively, we wanted to change that.”

Colin Castleton had another dominant performance with 25 points and nine rebounds, including 19 points in the second half. Over the past three games, Castleton is averaging 29.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, shooting .561 from the field and 23-for-30 from the free throw line.

“Coming out in the first half, we were a little lackadaisical energy-wise, just something wasn’t there,” Castleton said. “We just didn’t bring it, that’s what it came down to. We came out and didn’t have enough energy and weren’t rebounding as good as we should have. So we came back in the locker room, and it was pretty high-energy in there. Can’t say everything that was said, but we understood the assignment coming into the second half. Being down 17, we just tried to chip away little by little with our energy.”

 UF posted its first road win at Florida State since 2012, snapping a four-game losing streak in Tallahassee. It marked the Gators’ second straight win in the series.

Golden was asked after the FSU rivalry during the post-game press conference. 

“I love it. Absolutely love being a part of it,” Golden said. “This is why you coach in college basketball – to be part of an incredible program, get to wear this ‘F’ on my chest here, come in to Florida State, incredible program. Coach (Leonard) Hamilton has been doing it a long time and been winning at an incredibly high level for a long time. Great crowd in the building tonight. Obviously, you could tell everybody cared what the result was. It makes the win even sweeter, coming back all the way from 17 (down) at halftime to win a rivalry game, first time we’ve won here in 10 years as a program, pretty neat.”

Florida improves to 3-1 in the “Golden Era”. The Gators are set to play on Thanksgiving Day against Xavier at 5:30 pm. 




Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.