FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
Coming off a loss to Butler 10 days ago, Florida entered the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational looking for a chance at redemption. The Gators (7-3) appeared to have found it as they beat Providence (6-6) 83-51.
A dominant defense allowed Mike White’s offense to take control of the game’s pace, and his team flourished throughout both halves as the Gators never let their control slip.
Here’s our Instant Analysis:
What Went Right: This was a night for Florida to remember. Their defense found its footing early and never allowed the Friars to get comfortable. White’s unit stifled Providence’s shooting, limiting them to 25.9 percent from the floor and 1-18 from three.
The Gators forced 15 turnovers, nine of them steals and blocked three shots in what was their best performance on the defensive side of the ball all season.
Keyontae Johnson led the Gators with 19 points. The sophomore forward had a double-double as he hauled in 10 rebounds and had four steals in what was a remarkable all-around performance.
He Stole the Show: Florida’s perimeter defense stole the show and Providence’s offense tonight. The Friars struggled to find scoring opportunities and were left resorting to poorly-timed shot attempts that did everything but fall through the net.
Alpha Diallo and Nate Watson did what they could to stimulate their team’s offense, but in the face of a stout Florida defense, their 20 and 18 respective points were not enough to make an impact for the Friars.
These Numbers Don’t Lie: This was Florida’s best game of the season. They scored a season-high 83 points and limited their opponent to a season-low 51 points. Their defense allowed the Friars to convert an anemic 15 of their attempted 58 shots.
For White’s team to flourish as they did tonight, they need a dominant defense to set up their offense. Florida did so with 17 of their points scored off turnovers and the Gators led for all 40 minutes of the game.
Foul trouble was once again an issue for the Gators. They committed 25 personal fouls and allowed Providence 34 attempts at the free-throw line. Florida will need to clean that portion of their game if they are to continue playing well this season.
The Bottom Line: This is the performance fans expected out of this year’s Florida team. Though their ceiling is limited due to their lack of athleticism and similar skill sets, their individual talents and cohesiveness on defense filled the gaps and pushed the team to overcome the issues they were plagued with against Butler.
What’s Next: Florida will next play Utah State in the Orange Bowl Classic on Dec. 21. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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