The Daily Nole

Preview: FSU Looks to Make it Four Straight vs. Gators athletics

Just more than a week ago, Florida State did something it had never done on the gridiron by beating rival Florida for a fifth straight season. The Seminoles will look to beat the Gators for a fourth straight year on the hardwood Monday night — another milestone they’ve never hit.

Florida is ranked in the top 10 with a 5-1 record. The only loss came to No. 1 Duke in a contest where the Gators had a huge lead. Although FSU has won three straight in the series, the wins have come by a grand total of nine points. Dwayne Bacon was the hero for FSU in its last trip to Gainesville with a last-second jumper in a 73-71 win two years ago.

Who: Florida State Seminoles (6-0) at No. 6 Florida Gators (5-1)
When: Monday, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. EST (ESPN2)
Where: Exactech Arena in Gainesville, Florida

Key Players

For Florida State: Terance Mann leads five FSU players averaging at least 11 points per game. Mann averages a team-high 15.3 points on 67 percent shooting, but was derailed by foul trouble his last time out. Senior forward Phil Cofer is also in the midst of an outstanding season. Cofer averages better than 14 points per game to go with 4.7 rebounds. Mfiondu Kabengele, a redshirt freshman, has been a pleasant surprise, averaging 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.

For Florida: Slasher and Virginia Tech transfer Jalen Hudson is the No. 2 scorer in the SEC, averaging nearly 22 points per game while shooting 55 percent. Hudson has also shot it 49 percent from deep. Senior Egor Koulechov, a native of Russia and a transfer from Rice, is scoring nearly 18 points per game while grabbing seven rebounds per contest. Like Hudson, Koulechov is shooting a 49 percent clip from beyond the arc. Chris Chiozza, also a senior guard, has been a box scorer filler-upper this season, averaging better than 13 points and almost seven assists and six rebounds per game. Chizzola is shooting 59 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

What to Watch For

Point Guard Play: Florida’s Chris Chizzola will be one of the best all-around point guards that Florida State will have seen this season on Monday night. Just 6-foot-0, Chizzola can light it up from deep, he’s an excellent facilitator and he’s a good rebounder for a guard. The good news for FSU is it has the bodies to match him. Sophomore C.J. Walker is coming off a career performance in which he scored 24 points in a win over Rutgers. Braian Angola is a senior combo guard, who at 6-6, can be a problem for a small point guard like Chizzola. Angola is averaging 11.3 points this season and leads the Seminoles, averaging 4.5 assists per game.

3-Point Shooting: When it comes to lighting it up from downtown, few teams do it better than Florida. The Gators are shooting 46 percent from distance, which ranks fifth in the country and are averaging better than 11 makes per game. That ranks 12th nationally. FSU is shooting a respectable 36 percent from beyond the arc with Cofer having been the best in that department at 50 percent. Angola and freshman M.J. Walker have combined to make 24 3-pointers. The good news for the Seminoles is they’ve held opponents to just 30 percent from deep.

Points: Monday’s contest should be one that goes back and forth down the floor. Florida is the nation’s leading scoring team, averaging just under 100 points per game. FSU ranks in the top 25 in that category at nearly 89 per contest. While the Seminoles have had an excellent offensive season so far, the size advantage over Florida could be something they look to utilize in more of half-court setting on Monday. While the two teams combine to score about 189 points per game, no one has scored more than 87 points in the series since the turn of the millennium.

KeVaughn Allen: Transfers have overshadowed Florida junior guard KeVaughn Allen this season, but throughout his career, Allen has feasted on the Seminoles. In two prior games against FSU, Allen is averaging 24 points while shooting 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land. In the last meeting between the teams in Gainesville, Allen scored a then career-high 32 points. On the FSU side, Dwayne Bacon was the guy who did in the Gators the last couple years, but fortunately for Florida, he is off to the NBA.

Number To Pay Attention to

10: That’s the total number of points the last four match-ups between the in-state rivals have been decided by. FSU won last season by five after consecutive 2-point wins. The last Florida victory in 2013 came 67-66 on a last second free throw by Dorian Finney-Smith.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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