Instant Analysis: Texas A&M downs Florida – again

Jan 18, 2023 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

Florida drops a chance at revenge as the Gators lost 54-52 against Texas A&M for the second time this season.

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

IT WAS OVER WHEN: It wasn’t over until the clock struck zero in this one. In what was by far one of the wildest finishes in Todd Golden’s tenure, the Gators just could not shake a first half, where they shot eight-percent from the field, that haunted the scoreboard. Texas A&M’s Wade Taylor IV sealed that fate as his four free throws, all within the last two minutes of regulation, edged the Aggies over the Gators.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Colin Castleton ended the night with a slash line indicative of the star role the big man has assumed since first donning the Orange and Blue: 14 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks. But it was the effort from Alex Fudge that will be absent from the box score that stole the show. Every missed shot meant a tip from the LSU transfer, every pass in his lane meant a deflection from the 6-foot-9 sophomore.

Although his eight rebounds, five on the offensive glass, and seven points weren’t enough for a victory tonight, it’s safe to say that Golden will recognize Fudge’s effort in the film as the Gators’ starting lineup continues to mold into shape.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: The game at halftime was nothing but pain for Florida fans as the worst offense the Gators have seen all season sulked into the locker room. Florida went into the half having shot 2/26 from the field, a 12-point offensive effort equaled by that of Texas A&M’s Julius Marble’s six field goals.

Florida’s free-throw shooting was average at the half with seven of 10 finding the net. But in a 12-point first half, three lost points would’ve accounted for 25% of Florida’s scoring. Ultimately, the charity stripe would be the difference. Florida left five points at the line in a game decided by two points. The analytic in Golden will find it harder to sleep as the Aggies countered the Gators with a perfect 7/7 performance from the free-throw line.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: The heavyweight bout on the card: Colin Castleton Vs. Julius Marble. This was the matchup to watch from the outset as the last two players to earn SEC Player of the Week honors met in the paint.

Though Castleton finished with a dominant 12-rebound advantage on the glass, Marble’s 19 points deflated the Gators in a game marked by the big men.

WHAT A PLAY: Just as it seemed that it had slipped away from Florida, Riley Kugel finished a possession that started with two missed threes from Myreon Jones with a three ball of his own. The effort brought the Gators within one, setting up the wild Jones potential game winner.

Ultimately, in a game of inches Jones’ shot would not resurrect a first half marked by a Florida offense that shot 8% from the field.

UP NEXT: The Gators end their brief conference road trip at Mississippi State Saturday night, with tip-off set for 8:30 P.M.

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Tags: BBIA22

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