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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators soar past Eagles in blowout win

December 22, 2018
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The Florida Gators (7-4) were victorious Saturday in blowout fashion, defeating the FGCU Eagles (5-9) 77-56 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic from Sunrise, Florida. The Eagles did all they could to keep things close in the first half, but couldn’t slow down the Gators in the second. 

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WHAT WENT RIGHT: Florida turned in what could be considered their most complete performance of the season. Defensively, the Gators played gritty which resulted in slowing down the Eagles offense. And on the flip side of the ball, the Gators were able to find seams through the Eagles zone defensive looks, hitting open and contested shots, something they haven’t done consistently this season. 

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: Through the course of the season, freshman Noah Locke has shown he is a deadly shooter from beyond the arc, and that was much of the case Saturday. Locke poured in 15 points behind a stellar, shooting 5-9 from 3-point land and is living up to head coach Mike White’s label as the best shooter the Gators have.

On top of Locke’s strong offensive performance, the Gators bench was sparked by the effort turned in by Jalen Hudson. Hudson has struggled mightily this season and lost his starting spot to Locke. But Hudson looked much like himself from a year ago, as he had his best game of the season. Hudson finished with 14 points and showed he still has the ability to light up the scoreboard. 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: The Gators have relied heavily on the three-pointer this season, which at times has cost them. However, on Saturday the Gators found their stride from beyond the arc, finishing with 11 threes, shooting 37% from beyond the arc. 

BOTTOM LINE: The balance on both sides of the ball the Gators played with Saturday was key to their blowout win over the Eagles. It’s vital for the Gators success that they continue to play well on both sides of the ball. With conference play right around the corner, the Gators will need more performances like Saturday’s to be successful. With the SEC looking strong early on in the season, the question now for the Gators is if they can sustain Saturday’s level of play for games to come.

UP NEXT:  The Gators will get a week off before returning to action at home against the Butler Bulldogs (9-3). It will be the second meeting of the season between the Gators and Bulldogs, as the two met earlier in the season at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Bulldogs were victorious over the Gators by a score of 61-54, so the Gators have a great opportunity to avenge a loss from early in the season as non-conference play wraps up.

 
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