Instant Analysis: Gators feast in blowout win over Stanford

Nov 23, 2018 | 0 comments


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The Florida Gators (3-2) were able to get back over .500 on Thanksgiving Day as they routed the Stanford Cardinal (2-3) 72-49. Both teams started slow, but the Gators closed the first half on a massive ran and never looked back.

Instant Analysis takes a closer look at the win.

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WHAT WENT RIGHT: Head coach Mike White shook-up the starting lineup Friday night, starting freshman Noah Locke over Jalen Hudson. The new starting lineup produced, Locke in particular with 11 points, but the bench effort from Florida stood out in their impressive first half.

The Gators benched outscored Stanford themselves in the first half, 18-13. The Gators bench played a strong role in giving the Gators a large cushion at the half.

Off the bench, Deaundrae Ballard finished with 19 points, with 12 of those coming in the first. Keyontae Johnson scored 4 points while adding 7 rebounds. Johnson was strong was again on defense putting his length and athleticism on display.

And to point out, Jalen Hudson didn’t play much of a factor in the Gators bench effort. Hudson was scoreless in just seven minutes of action Thursday night.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: Deaundrae Ballard was impressive Thursday night for the Gators, leading the team with 19 points. Ballard continues to impress off of the bench to start the season.

Ballard showed he has a complete offensive game, scoring in an abundance of ways. Ballard finished going 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point-range.

In his first collegiate start, Noah Locke showed what made him a highly-touted recruit. Locke has shown what makes him to be considered the best shooter on the team, finishing with 11 while going 3-of-6 from deep. Locke is shooting 41% from beyond the arc this season.

THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE: Fortunately for the Gators, Stanford didn’t play their best basketball Thursday. However, they Gators still took full advantage of Stanford’s miscues on their way to victory. The Gators had 10 steals in the first half, as Stanford turned the ball over 13 times. The Gators defense effort helped them run away from the Cardinal in the first half on their way to a 32-13 lead at halftime.

The Gators turned in a strong defensive effort Thursday night, on their way to finishing with 15 steals.

BOTTOM LINE: As the box score attests to, Mike White was probably justified in his decision to start Locke over Hudson, as the freshman has shown his ability to be a knock-down shooter for the Gators five games into the season. However, something has to start clicking for Hudson in order for this team to reach its full potential.

Locke continues to show his promise as a freshman, but Hudson is a proven scorer. He’s in a slump to start the season, but things have to change in Hudson’s play for the Gators to be the caliber of team many thought they could be.

UP NEXT: The Gators will play the winner of Thursday night’s game between the Butler Bulldogs (3-1) and the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. Tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

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