Instant Analysis: Gators outlast Xavier to win Charleston Classic Title

Nov 25, 2019 | 0 comments

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A trip to Charleston, South Carolina proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the Florida Gators (5-2) men’s basketball team. After a disappointing four-game stretch to start the season, the Gators won the Charleston Classic, beating the No. 18 Xavier Musketeers (6-1) in the final, 70-65 .

Florida capped off a solid week of basketball with one of their best games of the season and will head back to Gainesville with some hardware.

Here’s our Instant Analysis.

What Went Right: The Gators may want to take the rims from the TD Arena back to Gainesville with them because they were red-hot from the field all tournament. Prior to this weekend in Charleston, Florida had struggled mightily offensively and seemed to have little to no flow on that side of the court.

The first half was one to remember offensively for the Gators and one they hope can become a pattern. Florida shot 64% from the field in the first half with helped them take a 10-point lead to the break.

The second half was another efficient one offensively for Florida. They shot 44% in the closing half, finishing the game shooting 54% from the field.

About half way through the first half, the Gators broke out their 1-3-1 zone, something they had much success with against Miami in the semifinal. Xavier also struggled against the Gators switching-zones, turning the ball over 18 times, with 10 of those coming in the first half.

He Stole the Show: For whatever reason it is, Keyontae Johnson really likes playing in tournaments. He showed out in postseason tournaments last year and he was dominant all weekend of the Charleston Classic. Continuing to get it done offensively in a variety of ways, Johnson scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed five boards

After a slow start, Kerry Blackshear Jr. finally got going for the Gators. The grad transfer didn’t score for the first 13-minutes in this one, but still finished with another double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 10 rebounds.

Andrew Nembhard and Noah Locke were also very effective for Florida, particularly from beyond the arc. The sophomore duo combined for 28 points and went 6-for-11 from deep.

Freshman Ques Glover proved to once again be a spark off the bench, adding 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Against the best team they’ve seen this year, the Gators had a great defensive showing. Xavier shot just 44% from the field and could never adjust to the Gators zone’s.

The Musketeers turned the ball over 18 times which resulted in 22 points for the Gators. They narrowly won the turnover battle, having 16 themselves, but it still played a key factor in them getting the victory.

The Bottom Line: It’s no secret that this weekend was huge for the Gators to get back on track. They played their best ball and beat a ranked opponent on their way to winning a tournament. You really can’t stress how important this weekend was for this team.

This weekend was also of vital importance to this team because they showed to themselves that they can score. Mike White said heading into the tournament he is very pleased with the defensive effort, just need shots to start falling. Well, it finally worked out in the Gators basketball and they played a complete weekend of basketball. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but Florida’s showing in Charleston this weekend should find them back in the polls.

Regardless, this was a huge weekend of basketball for the trajectory of the Gators season.

Up Next: After nearly two weeks on the road, the Gators will return to Gainesville Friday Nov. 29 looking to stay hot. They will play host to Marshall (2-3) with a late, 9:00 p.m. tipoff and will be televised on SEC Network.



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