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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators survive and advance to second round

March 21, 2019
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The Florida Gators (19-15) will live to see another game, as they pulled off the upset over the Nevada Wolf Pack, winning 70-61. After nearly blowing an 18-point lead, the Gators were able to hold on and advance in the tournament. 

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WHAT WENT RIGHT: In order to top the Wolf Pack and advance, the Gators had to stymie their offensive attack. And that’s just what Florida was able to do, making things uncomfortable for Nevada offensively for majority of the game.

The Gators forced 14 turnovers and their defensive effort was part of the reason they were able to create separation from the Wolf Pack. One of the biggest knocks on Nevada was the lack of competition they faced. Many questioned if they would be able to score as prolifically as they normally do against the Gators defense. It took them too long to find their stride, and it was the difference in this one.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: Entering the tournament, he’s been playing some of his best offensive ball of his career, and Kevarrius Hayes was big for the Gators. He finished with 16 points and was awfully efficient, going 5-for-6 from the field. 

Jalen Hudson has been playing his best ball of the season in the past month, and he had another solid outing. Hudson finished with 15 points and knocked down three from beyond the arc. 

Keyontae Johnson and KeVaughn Allen also scored double-digits for the Gators, with both finishing with 10 points.

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: Entering the tournament, Nevada was averaging over 80 points a game. The Gators keep them far from their average mark, holding them to 61. Nevada shot just 35% from the field, thanks to the Gators stifling D.

The Gators did more than enough offensively too. They were more efficient than Nevada, shooting 45% from the field. The Gators had to be pretty confident in their defense to slow down the Wolf Pack. But they have to be pretty please with their offense effort too as they outperformed Nevada on both sides of the ball for the most part.

BOTTOM LINE: It almost got real ugly for Florida, but they were able to hold on. At one point leading by 18, the Gators looked like they were coasting to a win. However, Nevada stormed back and made a one possession game with just under two-minutes left in the game.

But, the Gators were able to hold on. It wasn’t pretty, but they deserve credit for escaping with the win. Nevada is a veteran-led team and the Gators didn’t let their experience take over the game.

UP NEXT: Now the Gators will have to wait and see who they draw. It won’t be a long wait, as they’ll see the winner of Thursday night’s game between the West region’s 2-seed, the Michigan Wolverines and the 15-seeded Montana Grizzlies. The Gators will play winner of that game on Saturday, with tip off to be determined. 

Instant Analysis: Gators survive and advance to second round

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