After a long and highly anticipated off-season, the Florida Gators men’s basketball team returned to the court to tip-off the 2019-20 season. The result didn’t count for their record, but it was still an impressive tune-up showing for the 6th ranked team in the country. The Gators jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, beating the Lynn Knights 89-71.
Here is our Instant Analysis.
What Went Right: Well, not much really went wrong. From the opening tip, the Gators took care of business on both ends. It was an efficient offensive showing (52% from the field) and a stellar defensive one too, holding Lynn to just 39% from the field.
The Gators were also able to rotate a number of guys in and see what lineups mesh. We saw a number of different looks Tuesday and saw extensive work from the Gators new freshmen.
Another positive for Florida was their work on the glass, in particular the offensive side. The team last year struggled in grabbing offensive rebounds, but grabbed 13 tonight.
Who Stole the Show: Welcome to Gainesville Kerry Blackshear. The prized grad-transfer from the offseason made his highly-anticipated debut in the Orange and Blue and didn’t disappoint. Blackshear finished with 16 points, 10 boards and added an assist. His presence down-low and the advantage he can be for this offense was evident from the jump. The Gators pick-and-roll game with Blackshear could be downright lethal for them down the stretch. And let’s not forget the fact that the big-man can shoot the rock too, draining a couple three’s.
There was strong showings for familiar faces too. Andrew Nembhard’s game as a whole looked to have grown as a whole, as he added 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting (four three’s), which led the team in scoring. The Canadian also had six assists, including a number of highlight passes.
Keyontae Johnson looks to have picked up from right where he left off in the postseson last year, contributing 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
McDonald’s All-American Tre Mann showed a glimpse of what his game can be too. The talented two-guard scored 13 and showed off his range.
And to give credit where it’s due, Lynn’s Jordan Allen absolutely balled out for them. The Gators had no answer for him, as he scored 35 of the Knights 71 points.
These Numbers Don’t Lie: If Tuesday was any indication, the Gators should shoot the ball at a high clip this coming year. In particular, from beyond the arc. Florida was making it rain all night, going 48 % from deep. It’s not just a couple of guys who can stretch out the floor for the Gators, but a number of guys. Seven different Gators nailed a three and it certainly doesn’t hurt when your center is draining them too.
The Bottom Line: The result of Tuesday’s exhibition was an expected one. However, the game showed the capability of this year’s squad. The offense seems to have much better flow throughout the game and it was an expected effort defensively from a Mike White team. The Gators come into the season with hefty expectations and this win could be a sign for things to come. It’s now up to them to manage those expectations once the games start counting for real.
Up Next: Next time the Gators take the court, it will be the real deal. They open their season at Exactech Arena on Nov. 5 against North Florida, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.