Instant Analysis: Clayton’s 26 leads the way in blowout win over Merrimack

Florida 77 - Merrimack 57

by Joseph Torviso
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After a poor run of games, Florida struggled to find their form early against Merrimack. A school with 5,700 students, and a NET Ranking back in the 160’s, gave the Gators a run for their money, but a dominant second half helped to ensure that Florida is finally back to its winning ways.

Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: The Gators found their groove in the second half. After some back and forth early on, Florida went on a 20-0 run that lasted 6:21. Walter Clayton Jr. and Zyon Pullin were instrumental to this run, both scoring 8 points. Merrimack shot poorly from the floor after the half, shooting just 30.3% overall, as well as failing to knock down a single three in 12 attempts.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Walter Clayton Jr. in the second half. He scored a nice layup off the glass to put Florida back in the lead. He then had back-to-back blocks, earning his team the ball. On the next possession, Clayton scored another layup. After ending the first half with five points, he finished with 26 points, three rebounds and two assists.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE:  After Thomas Haugh’s dunk with 16:43 left in the first half, it took Florida 6:25 to score their next field goal. The Gators had a scoring drought of over three minutes until Alex Condon knocked down his two free throws. The offense struggled to get going, turning the ball over early and shooting 26.3% from the field and 20% from three during this run. Florida ended the first half shooting 35.7% from the floor, 28.6% from three and nine turnovers.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY:  Merrimack could not stop the Gators from dominating the glass. After keeping it close in the first half, Florida had 37 rebounds in the second half. Merrimack was unable to create second-chance opportunities and keep their possessions alive. The Gators ended the game with a total of 57 rebounds to Merrimack’s 33.

WHAT A PLAY: After a tough start to the game, the Gators started finding their groove late in the first half. With four minutes left, Walter Clayton Jr. took an open look 3. Even though he missed, Will Richard was there to slam it home.

UP NEXT: The (5-3) Gators play the (5-3) Richmond Spiders on Saturday at the O’dome. Florida hopes to keep up its form and continue its streak.

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