Instant Analysis: Castleton leads Florida to a 2-0 start

Nov 11, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy USA Today Sports)

The Golden era stayed gilded Friday night, as Florida improved to 2-0 by beating Kennesaw State at home

Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Kennesaw State looked to put the O’Dome through a bad night as they led 12-8. After almost eight minutes of single-digit offense for Florida, Todd Golden looked for his bench to awaken the Gators. Riley Kugel would provide the spark needed to set Florida flying with a dunk on the break.

Alex Fudge complimented his fellow newcomer with four unanswered. The slumbering giant awakened, and the Gators jumped out to 19-14 lead. Though the game stayed far from Monday’s Stony Brook blowout, the Gators never looked back on the lead set by Kugel and Fudge.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Sometimes it’s good to stay away from the obvious. Tonight, was not one of those nights. The Gators looked to a reliable Colin Castleton to pull them out and away from what started as a tight contest as 19 points at the half quickly turned to a career-high 33 before you knew it.

Castleton was the obvious star in Orange and Blue heading into the season. But under Todd Golden, the 6’11 forward seems to be in the form of his life. Beyond the win, Castleton’s performances have given Florida insight into what the big man can be in Golden’s Gators.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: With so many positives against Stony Brook and Kennesaw State, it doesn’t hurt to mention what could be better. Florida will take a career night from Castleton every day of the week. But ideally, you’d like to get more productivity from seven-minute, three fouls Jason Jitoboh in an effort to give your star a well deserved rest. Castleton finished the game having played 34 arduous minutes. It’s early in the season and it’s good to get his motor running, the details chiseled, those blocking hands chalked. But the last thing the Gators need is an overworked Castleton in a season that is starting to walk the talk of something special brewing in Gainesville.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: Beyond Castleton, a mismatch at point guard between 6-foot-4 Will Richard and Kennesaw State’s 5-foot-10 guard Terell Burden was always going to be a problem. Richard looked the better man as he rose above Burden time and time again. Whether on the glass, off the screen or on the pick and pop, Richard led the Gators as its second-highest scorer with 15 points on sixty-percent shooting.

WHAT A PLAY: With 4:47 to go Myreon Jones found Kowacie Reeves for a three-point splash. The volume at the O’Dome could’ve been turned down to zero and by the sight alone one would’ve known what the shot meant to Reeves, the team, the crowd and the game. Reeves hopped up and down like a kid on Christmas morning as the O’Dome went wild for the sophomore.

The shot enveloped a night set by the dominance of Castleton and complimented by the likes of Reeves who ended the game with 11 points and five rebounds.

UP NEXT: Florida will look to stay golden Monday night as the Gators host their first in-state opponent. It’s Florida Gators Vs. FAU Owls at 7 p.m. in the O’Dome.

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