The men’s basketball teams of Florida and Florida State, who were both at the BB&T Center on Saturday for separate games, weren’t competing against each other … or were they?
The Gators (8-3) didn’t work up much of a sweat in disposing of Conference USA opponent Charlotte, dismantling the 49ers 87-46 in the second game of the annual Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
Just a couple of hours prior to that, Florida State took down Manhattan 83-67.
Devin Robinson, Florida’s 6-8 forward, obviously made note of the fact that the Gators’ main rival was in the house and had a comment ready when asked about the Seminoles.
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“I wasn’t worried about Florida State,” Robinson said. “I watched a little bit of their game. We just had to show who is the leader of Florida.”
Seminole fans would say that would be FSU. After all, FSU beat visiting Florida, 83-78, last Sunday.
(University of Miami fans might also want to have a say in the discussion of best team in the state, but that’s another matter.)
Robinson, who had 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds in the victory over Charlotte (6-4), is confident his Gators would beat the Seminoles if they were to have a rematch.
“I feel we can beat Florida State,” he said. “We can beat any team in the country. If we play the way we’re supposed to play, I feel we can give them a run for their money.”
Unfortunately for fans who wanted a close game in the second contest of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Gators’ best wasn’t required to subdue an undersized and overmatched Charlotte team.
Florida was led in scoring by Canyon Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry. Canyon Barry came off the bench and had a game-high 16 points. He made 9 of 10 free throws and was 3 of 6 from the floor, including a three-pointer.
Chris Chiozza, Florida’s backup point guard, had nine points, a game-high five steals, four assists and three rebounds, and the Gators won the rebound battle 44-23.
Florida also had a 45-23 edge in bench scoring, a 38-14 scoring advantage in the paint and a 14-2 edge in second-chance points.
In other words, Florida dominated in every facet of the game.
“That’s probably the closest we’ve come to putting together 40 minutes,” Florida coach Mike White said. “[Robinson] was really good — he got some big-boy rebounds and played with physicality.
“We want to hang our hats on our length and size.”
Charlotte coach Mark Price, whose team has played Oregon State and Wake Forest this season, said Florida was the best team his 49ers have faced so far.
“That was a really bad loss to a really good team,” Price said. “I was disappointed we didn’t play better.
“You have to play your best game to have a shot against a team like that. They punched us in the mouth early. We never responded, and that’s on me as a coach to have our guys prepared.”