TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — — No. 20 Florida State Seminoles secured an 83-71 victory over state rival Florida in the midst of Gators standout forward Keyontae Johnson collapsing on the court and needed to be taken to hospital on Saturday.
M.J. Walker and Scottie Barnes each scored 17 points for Florida State, which recovered from a slow start to lead 45-35 at halftime and then used a balanced effort in the second half to seal the win.
Barnes, who shot 7-of-10 from the field, also had five assists, while Walker, who was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line collected three steals and three assists.
“There’s no doubt that he showed potential,” Hamilton said about Barnes. “He’s showing that he has the ability that we always knew he had.
“He made pretty good decisions with the ball and he did some athletic things. But as a team we have to get a little better all on the same page so that we could all be a little bit better in sync than we were.”
Also scoring in double figures was Anthony Polite, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds. He connected on 3 of his 4 attempts from three-point range, as Florida State improved to three 3-0 inside the young season.
Scottie Lewis scored 19 points and made four 3-pointers with four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals for Florida (3-1), which was losing for the first time in four starts this season.
Sophomore point guard Tre Mann added 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Colin Castleton chipped in with seven rebounds for the Gators, who led 11-3 early in the first half before losing their way after Keyontae Johnson collapsed at courtside.
“Those types of things can affect you in some adverse ways,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“We’re just all hopeful and praying that he’s OK. If it affected our players in an emotional way, I can imagine what the situation was with his teammates.”
The incident clearly affected the Florida players who were crying and hugging each other after Johnson needed to get treatment and then taken away.
After the game the Gators loaded up and left immediately on the two hour trip back to Gainesville to join Johnson at the hospital.
Hamilton said he would have been OK if Florida decided against finishing the game when Johnson went down.
“Whatever they thought was in the best interest of their team, then I would accept it,” Hamilton said.
“My administration asked me and I told them we would be OK with whatever they decided. It was my understanding that they wanted to play.”
Florida shot 42.4% on 25-for-59 shooting overall and went 10-for-23 from 3-point range for 43.5% and edged its stats rivals 34-33 in the rebound column.
Florida State, meanwhile, shot 48.1% as a team and made 26 baskets on 17 assists. The Seminoles also shot 50.0% (8-of-16) from 3-point range.
Florida Gator: Entertain North Florida on Wednesday night. The Gators have won all nine meetings between the teams.
Florida State: Begins Atlantic Coast Conference play against Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.