Instant Analysis: Reality Check

Dec 7, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

Todd Golden and Co. faced their tallest task yet Wednesday night, hosting No. 5 UConn in the O-Dome. Unfortunately for the Orange & Blue, Dan Hurley and his guys brought more than the Gators could handle dispatching UF 75-54.

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

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Riley Kugel got stuffed at the rim on a fast break with a bit under 5 minutes to go. The odds were low, but momentum seemed possible. He had just gone to the line a few times, and the Gators had just gotten a major defensive stop. But when the Huskies met him at the rim and went the other way for a wide-open fastbreak dunk, momentum was theirs — and Florida’s hopes of pulling off a miraculous comeback were gone.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: UConn’s Adama Sanogo won’t pop out at you on the stat sheet (despite 17 & 7 being nothing to scoff at), but it’s not what he did offensively that terrorized the Gators and stole the show Wednesday night. Sanogo gave Colin Castleton fits from beginning to end. And if Florida was going to have a real chance in this game, their star big was going to have to be great. Sanogo made it his personal mission to not let that happen.

He held #12 to just 12 points on 4-14 shooting.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: The Gators got off to a porous start. They shot an abysmal 28% from the field in the first half and just 5-11 from the free-throw line. Castleton went into the halftime locker room with 2 points on 1-9 shooting. The team as a whole made just 8 shots and 2 threes.

Look, it’s not to say that a bad 20 minutes always equals irreparability. But against a top 5 opponent, when your floor general is already being forced to come off the bench due to injury, you can’t dig yourself any holes. It’s tough to get momentum back and manage your way out in a situation like that given who’s staring you down on the other side.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: Colin Castleton vs. Adama Sanogo. Coming into the game, both teams’ top guys were their bigs. For Florida, Colin Castleton came in averaging 16.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg on over 50% from the field. For UConn, Adama Sanogo entered the matchup posting 18.7 and 6.9 per game on a scorching 61%.

How Wednesday night played out was going to be largely based on their H2H matchup. And, well, Sanogo won the battle in the trenches convincingly.

WHAT A PLAY: Donovan Clingan, the Huskies’ 7-foot-2 center out of Bristol, finished the game with 16 & 8 on 8-9 from the field. But it was his dunk after the aforementioned block on Kugel with just under 5 minutes left that really stole the momentum away and put the Gators in their coffin.

UP NEXT: The Gators (6-4) will next take the court on Dec. 14 in Tampa against the 4-4 Ohio Bobcats. Following that game, they’ll travel to Charlotte for the Jumpman Invitational to take on Oklahoma Dec. 20.

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Tags: BBIA22

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