Florida beats rival FSU 71-55 to end 7-game skid in series

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Florida forward Colin Castleton, left, blocks a shot attempt by Florida State forward Malik Osborne (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Colin Castleton had 15 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and six blocks — and was one of four Florida players scoring in double figures — as the Gators knocked off No. 20 Florida State 71-55 on Sunday to end a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Florida (2-0) won its first game against its biggest in-state rival since 2013 and took a huge step forward in coach Mike White’s seventh season.

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White revamped his roster with four additional transfers, and three of them came up big against the Seminoles (1-1). Brandon McKissic and Myreon Jones scored 12 points apiece and Phlandrous Fleming added nine off the bench.

Anthony Duruji chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds for the Gators.

“It's been a long time,” Duruji told the crowd after the victory.

Florida dominated the second half after trailing by one at the break. The Gators pressured every pass, forced errant shots and controlled the boards. Castleton led the way, notching eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the second half.

Malik Osborne led the Seminoles with 18 points and six rebounds. Matthew Cleveland added 11 points and six boards.

The last meeting was marred by Florida forward Keyontae Johnson’s collapse on the court in Tallahassee. Johnson became a trauma patient in front of teammates, coaches, opponents and everyone else in attendance last December.

Johnson hasn’t played since, and there’s been no announcement as to what caused him to fall face-first to the court after an early timeout. He remains part of Florida’s team as he decides whether to try to play professionally or cash in a $5 million insurance policy.

White and Johnson exchanged a long embrace after the final buzzer sounded.


Florida State might fall out of the next AP college basketball poll, which gets released Monday.


Florida State: Longtime coach Leonard Hamilton lost his top three scorers from last year’s team and still looks like he has a group capable of competing for the Atlantic Coast Conference title and making another deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

Florida: White has five transfers – two newcomers and three holdovers – in his starting lineup and, after games and weeks to gel, should be a much more formidable unit by the time the Southeastern Conference schedule begins in late December.


Florida State: Hosts Tulane on Wednesday night.

Florida: Hosts Milwaukee on Thursday night.


More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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