Florida basketball’s star player Keyontae Johnson was taken off the court on a stretcher during Saturday’s game against Florida State.Coach Mike White canceled postgame interviews to join Johnson at Tallahassee Memorial as his players boarded a bus for the two-hour trip back to Gainesville. According to the school, White will remain with Johnson at the hospital overnight.
Johnson had just dunked in transition before he crumpled to the floor as the team broke its huddle. Several Gators were in tears and a couple buried their faces in towels as White gathered them in prayer.
Officials sent both teams to the locker room to regroup, and the game continued a few minutes later. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said administrators gave the Gators the option of continuing and said they ultimately decided to play.
Florida clearly wasn’t the same afterward, getting outscored 80-60 following Johnson’s sudden and disconcerting exit. The 20th-ranked Seminoles won 83-71, extending their winning streak in the series to seven and their winning streak at home to 26.
“Please keep praying for @Keyontae and his family,” White posted on Twitter. “We all love him.”
Florida players were crying and hugging each other during the timeout, and a couple of them buried their faces in towels as White gathered his team in prayer.
Officials sent both teams to their locker rooms to regroup before the game resumed. The Gators weren’t the same afterward, as both teams seemed rattled. Florida (3-1) was ahead 11-3 after Johnson’s dunk. The 20th-ranked Seminoles (3-0) scored the next seven points en route to an 83-71 victory.
After the game, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said he did not have a conversation with White about whether the game should continue after Johnson collapsed, but told assistants and administrators that the Gators could decide whether to resume play.
“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.”
Hamilton, who did not see Johnson fall, said some of his players were crying, and he questioned if they would be able to be effective in the game. The longtime Florida State coach said some players were on their knees praying during the timeout shortly after Johnson collapsed.