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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators rout Rebels to get back in win-column

January 14, 2020
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After an abysmal showing in Columbia, Missouri that lead to a double-digit loss, the Florida Gators (11-5, 3-1) were able to right the ship and get back into the win-column on their homecourt Tuesday night.

Behind some timely runs to start the game and to close the first half, the Gators blew out the Ole Miss Rebels (9-6, 0-3), 71-55.

Here is our Instant Analysis:

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WCC: Florida-Ole Miss Game Thread

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What Went Right: As mentioned, the Gators were able to put together two runs in the first half that may have been the difference.

Florida came out guns-a-blazing, opening the game to the tune of an 8-0 run. It was a picture-perfect start for the Gators, playing great offense and defense, with high energy.

They would allow the Rebels to erase the deficit and even saw themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard late in the first half. But then, the Gators were able to string together another run (9-0) in the closing minutes of the half. It would give the Gators a 40-28 lead at the half and they were able to start the second the same way, creating a gap the Rebels couldn’t overcome.

It is worth noting that Ole Miss was without their leading scorer, Breein Tyree (17.8 PPG), who was held out of Tuesday’s contest with a back injury.

Who Stole the Show: It turned out to be quite the night for the sophomore duo of Andrew Nembhard and Keyontae Johnson. The two were insync all night and both had reached double-digits before the half.

Nembhard opened to scoring with four quick points after the Gators ran the same play on back-to-back possessions. He would go on to finish with 10 points (5-for-7) and added six assists.

The Rebels had a tough, tough time stopping Johnson in every phase of the game. He was seemingly unguardable, on his way to 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting and was all over the court on both ends, grabbing six rebounds and three steals.

These Numbers Don’t Lie: Keyontae Johnson has proven to be the Gators most important player this season and there’s a glaring number that shows why.

When Johnson reaches double figures in scoring, Florida is 10-1 on the year. He may not be the most dynamic scorer on the team, but he’s arguably the most dynamic overall player.

You know what you’re going to get from him defensively and on the glass and his scoring is just the cherry on the top. The numbers show that the Gators are a tough out when Johnson is putting the ball in the bucket.

Maybe it’s time for the Gators to rely on Johnson more as they face a grueling stretch of games.

The Bottom Line: Bouncing back from the egg the Gators laid against Missouri was very important, but the fashion Florida did it in may be even more. The Gators were much in the need of a dominant showing Tuesday night and they did just that.

The Gators needed this blowout win to hopefully give them a boost in confidence as they await a challenging three-game stretch (No. 4 Auburn, LSU, No. 2 Baylor). It was a near-complete game for the Gators and they will certainly need some carry-over in their play as they will have the opportunity to make some statement victories in the next week-and-a-half.

What’s Next: The task at hand next for the Gators won’t be an easy one, in fact, it figures to be their toughest test so far this season. Florida will play host to the No. 4 team in the country, the Auburn Tigers. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m Saturday with coverage on CBS.

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