FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
Coming off a blowout loss on the road, the Florida Gators (15-9, 7-4) flipped the script for a double-digit victory of their own. This time in College Station, the Gators thrashed the Texas A&M Aggies (11-12, 5-6) 78-61 after a strong second half to get back in the win column.
Here is our Instant Analysis.
What Went Right: After a back-and-forth first half, the Gators were able to go on a run to half a slim, three-point lead at the break. However, the second half was all Florida.
The Gators were able to pull away with the lead in the second with efficient scoring and good defense. In the second half, the Aggies had a field goal drought that extended over six-minutes. With the Aggies struggling to break the cylinder, the Gators took full advantage, eventually carrying them to victory.
He Stole The Show: He came in as the conference leading three-point shooter (48%) and Noah Locke showed just why in College Station. The sharpshooting sophomore nailed five shots from beyond the arc, on his way to scoring a season-high, 21-points.
After Locke stole the show in the first half, Andrew Nembhard took over the torch in the second. The Gators point guard scored 16 in the second on 6-of-6 shooting, finishing with 24 for the game to lead all scorers.
And joining them in double-digits was the third part of the Gators sophomore trio, Keyontae Johnson. Johnson tallied a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing as many boards.
Florida’s sophomore trio combined for 55 of their 78 points.
The Numbers Don’t Lie: This Gators squad has proven in the past to be one that lives and dies off the the three-ball and tonight it was their saving grace. Florida had themselves a very efficient first half shooting from beyond the arc that may have been the reason they got the win.
The Gators shot 47% from three-point land in the first. Even more impressive, eight of Florida’s 12 field goals in the first half were from beyond the arc.
Florida would go on to shoot 52% for the game, 44% from deep.
The Bottom Line: The win might be overlooked because of what the Aggies record is, but there’s no denying that this was a win the Gators needed. At this point, Florida needs all the wins they can get. They are currently projected to squeak into the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed, so this was one the Gators needed to keep their status in the field of 64.
It’s no secret that the Gators are in somewhat of a low point in the schedule. They’ve had a good stretch of games that were winnable, including this one. There’s only a handful of games remaining, so each win gets more and more important.
Up Next: The Gators next contest may be one of the program’s most anticipated games of the year, but not so much because of the game to be played. Saturday night in Gainesville will be Billy Donovan night, as Florida will honor the two-time national champion coach, naming the court in his honor. Florida will host the last-place Vanderbilt Commodores at 8 p.m. with coverage on SEC Network.
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