FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
In what ended up being a special evening in Exactech Arena, the Florida Gators (16-9, 8-4) put it all together in a winning effort, beating the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-16, 1-11) 84-66. Florida honored former coach Billy Donovan at halftime, as the Gator great made his long anticipated return to the program he helped build.
Here is our Instant Analysis.
What Went Right: The Gators started slow on the offensive side of the ball to start things, but happened to be playing great defense. Then with about nine-minutes left in the first, everything started to click for Florida.
Over the next five-minutes of play, the Gators would go on a massive, 17-2 run that sucked whatever life the Commodores had out of them and energized the O’Connell center. Vanderbilt did all they could to stick around early, but the Gators big run made this game over at the break.
He Stole The Show: Florida fans and students gathered to watch the game on the court, but it’s no secret the star of tonight’s show came off the hardwood, in Billy Donovan. Florida honored the two-time National Champion coach by naming the court in Exactech Arena after him Saturday night. Gator greats such as Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Bradley Beal, Erik Murphy and Chris Chiozza amongst other former players were in attendance to support their collegiate coach.
As for the current group of Gators, it was another good game for Noah Locke from his office. It’s no secret where the sophomore gets his work done, from three-point land. After nailing five from beyond the arc earlier this week, Locke has to one-up himself, draining six of his eight attempted shots from beyond the arc. He led all Florida scorers with 19 points.
These Numbers Don’t Lie: In what may be a good sign for things to come, Florida once again had a very efficient shooting day from beyond the arc. The Gators shot 50% (10-for-20) from deep as they continue to build momentum shooting the ball.
Defensively, Florida looked back on their A-game Saturday night. The Gators brought their clamps out early and made scoring points a tough task for the Commodores. Some of it was Vanderbilt’s own doing, but the Gators made them commit 19 turnovers in this one and did their job of turning those into points, scoring 24 points off Commodores turnovers.
The Bottom Line: More of that, right? It’s been preached by the choir for quite some time,but now it’s ever so important that the Gators can stay consistent and maintain this level of play. Florida now finds themselves in another tough three-game stretch in the conference (Arkansas, @UK, LSU) but it’s now at the point of the season where it could affect where they play in the postseason. Two double-digits win this week was a step in the right direction for this Gators team. But now, they need to show they can do it for more than one week at a time.
Up Next: The Gators will get a couple days off after another home contest, this time against the Arkansas Razorbacks. They’ll be back on the court Tuesday night, with tip scheduled for 7 p.m. and coverage on ESPNU.
— Sam Graveline (@sam_graveline) February 16, 2020
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