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Published September 13, 2015
Florida State might want to go big more often.
The Seminoles gave 15th-ranked Florida all sorts of problems with their 7-footers Friday night.
Boris Bojanovsky scored 14 points and Michael Ojo added 10 — career highs for both sophomores — but FSU came up short in the closing seconds and lost 67-66 at the Gators.
"That's how we should play every game, feeding off each other," Bojanovsky said. "It was a good experience. Things went well, and I was playing with confidence, so it was easy for us."
The one thing the Seminoles didn't do well was rebound. They gave up 20 offensive boards, including one to Dorian Finney-Smith in the closing seconds.
"When you play against a nationally ranked team as good as Florida and you give up 20 offensive rebounds, it's going to be difficult," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Ian Miller fouled Finney-Smith on the decisive rebound. Finney-Smith made the second free throw with 1.3 seconds left.
"Give our guys credit for chasing it," coach Billy Donovan said.
Finney-Smith deserved the bulk of the praise. The sophomore struggled all night from the field, missing 10 of 12 shots, but came up big in the clutch. And on the glass. He finished with six points and 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
His last one proved to be the difference in an ugly game that included nearly as many fouls (38) as baskets (45).
Finney-Smith grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed jumper by Scottie Wilbekin and got fouled on the putback. He missed the first free throw, but gathered himself and sank the second for the Gators (6-1).
"I just went up there like every day in practice and shot with confidence," Finney-Smith.
Florida State (5-2) had a shot to win it, but Miller's desperation heave from half court bounced off the back of the rim, missing by inches.
"I was proud of the fact that we fought," Hamilton said. "We hung in there and gave tremendous effort but unfortunately coming close doesn't count."
Miller finished with 13 points.
Casey Prather led Florida with 19 points, and Michael Frazier II added 17.
The Gators extended their home-winning streak to 20 and won their fifth straight in the series.
The latest one was a nail-biter.
Frazier's fifth 3-pointer put Florida up 63-55 with 3 minutes to play. It was the largest lead of the game for either team, but it didn't last.
The Seminoles made eight consecutive free throws, trimming the deficit with the clock stopped.
Wilbekin also helped Florida State get back in the game. Playing in his second game back since a suspension, Wilbekin missed two free throws with 2:18 to play and had a careless turnover on the next possession.
Miller's 3-pointer cut Florida's lead to 65-64 with 1:10 to play.
Bojanovsky's block on Will Yeguete was also key. Bojanovsky, however, fouled out on Florida's next possession. Prather made one of his two free throws, but Miller tied it with a pair from the charity stripe with 28.3 seconds to play.
Donovan called timeout and drew up a play for Wilbekin. The senior dribbled near midcourt until the clock hit 10 seconds and drove to the elbow. His jumper missed wide, but Finney-Smith was in perfect position for the offensive board.
"We allowed them to get the rebound in the last few seconds," Bojanovsky said.
Still, the Seminoles watched Miller's shot nearly fall.
"If it goes in, you've got to live with it," Donovan said. "The worst thing you want to do in that situation is foul or have him throw the ball all the way into the lane and get sealed off and give up a layup. He almost made a heck of a shot. You've got to give the kid credit for at least giving the ball a chance to go in."