It's been a long, dramatic season for the Gators. And it has concluded in Indianapolis on Sunday after losing to Oral Roberts in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm crushed right now," head coach Mike White. "Very, very tough emotional season for this team."
As a team, Florida had a 55.2 field goal percentage, 31.8 three point percentage and a 77.8 free throw percentage. Additionally, they had 37 rebounds, 26 of them on the defensive side of the court.
The Gators went into the half with a lead of 42-37. Florida maintained their lead for most of the entirety of the game. Oral Roberts started to make it interesting narrowing the gap to just one point with three minutes to go.
Oral Roberts began gaining momentum seeing their ticket to the Sweet 16 within their reach.
"They were just incredibly difficult to defend," White said.
Florida took it back 77-76 for the first time since early in the second half. The Gators quickly took it back 78-77, but the remaining two minutes became a neck-and-neck battle in the paint. This game was a nail-biter in the end just like the first round. Oral Roberts strengthen their lead to 81-78 with 16.3 seconds left. What killed the Gators is what plagued them all seasonturnovers. In total, Florida had 20 turnovers compared to Oral Roberts 11.
"It destroyed us," White said regarding the amount of turnovers his team acquired. In the end, White added that the lack of killer instinct to play like an elite final four team is what got the getter of the orange and blue.
Tre Mann, again, led the scoring for Florida with 19, and Colin Castleton at 14. Noah Locke was hot on the court as well with 17 points. The Gators slowed down the pace in the second half, winding down the shot clock on many of their offensive possessions. White's goal was to get his team to settle into game play and prevent turnovers and bad passes. "In the moment, right now, we were tired," White added. "I thought that part of slowing it down would help us settle in." While strategic, it stole time for Florida to bounce back after Oral Roberts took the lead.
Oral Roberts becomes the second 15th seed to reach the sweet 16. (The last was Florida Gulf Coast in 2013). They will continue into the next round, while the Gators will head home to Gainesville.