The Fastbreak: LSU embarrasses Florida 79-61

By Adam Silverstein
January 20, 2015

Embarrassed at home by a team against which it held a six-game winning streak, the Florida Gators (10-8, 3-2 SEC) fell 79-61 to the LSU Tigers (14-4, 3-2 SEC) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s failures to execute defensively, coupled with its penchant for fouls and inability to sustain consistent offense, allowed LSU to lead most of the contest and earn a dominant victory against a team that has dominated it for much of this decade. The lost tied a 2010 game against Ohio State for UF’s worst defeat at home since 1998.

“I’m not surprised at all by any of this. I saw this back coming out of last season with the group of guys that were coming back,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “The veteran guys that were coming back, there was a lack of discipline in them. They struggle in that area. I’m not surprised by any of what’s going on. That’s been the challenge. I’ve tried a lot of different things with them. They’re going to have to, as much as I hate to say it, they’re going to have to go through it to figure it out.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Ending a five-minute stretch without a made field goal, the Gators pieced together an explosive 7-0 run with two layups and a three from junior guard Michael Frazier II to cut their deficit to 10 with 5:54 to play. The Tigers, however, answered back by scoring five-straight to push their lead back to 15 and held off the hosts from there, cruising to a road victory.

Significant stretch: Already leading by five, LSU used a 14-2 run aided by back-to-back threes and a pair of free throws to take a 66-49 lead on Florida midway through the second half. The Tigers had already taken eight free throws in the latter 20 minutes before entering the bonus at the 10-minute mark and used that advantage to hold onto its massive lead for the duration of the contest.


Prominent player: Jarell Martin was dominant for LSU, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting while going 1-for-1 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. He also posted eight boards and two dimes. UF did not have a player – or a pair of players – that were able to counter Martin’s production.

First half focus: The Tigers took advantage of six-straight missed baskets by the Gators to piece together a 9-2 scoring stretch that broke open a 14-14 tie and gave it a 23-16 lead. Florida was able to push the score back to even at 30 all, but LSU took a 37-32 lead into the break on the back of making 5-of-8 threes compared to 0-of-5 for the hosts.

Perfect play: Midway through the first half, a deflection off the press resulted in a steal by junior guard Michael Frazier II, who immediately passed it up the court to sophomore point guard Kasey Hill in transition. In one motion, Hill found freshman forward Devin Robinson at the hoop for a strong alley-oop that swung momentum in the Gators’ favor.

Standout stat: The Gators were abhorrent from beyond the arc for the second-straight game, failing both offensively and defensively from bonus land. The Tigers drained 8-of-13 attempts from long range as Florida failed to properly rotate defensively, and UF took a number of poor shots from deep, resulting in it hitting just 3-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc. LSU earned a +15 in scoring from three-point land.

“That’s really bad. Since conference play has started, we haven’t defended the three-point line well at all,” redshirt junior F Alex Murphy said. “[It’s failures in] communication, rotations, stuff that we do every day in practice that sometimes we just don’t do it out here come game time. We got to fix that.”

What it means: Florida has played so poorly to this point that qualifying for the NCAA Tournament is moving past the realm of reality. At 10-8 with a 3-2 league record, the Gators likely need to win 10 of their next 15 games just to make the NIT.

Next up: Florida will hit the road to take on Ole Miss on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Everything else: Finney-Smith came off the bench after hyper-extending his knee, which forced him to miss two days of practice, according to the Associated Press’ Mark Long … Frazier started his first SEC game of the season and first contest since Jan. 3 … a three-pointer drained by Frazier early in the second half set a new school record for consecutive games with a triple (40) … the Tigers entered the bonus with 10:06 to play … Finney-Smith (4-of-13) and Murphy (3-of-5) led the way for Florida with 10 points each … Frazier was 2-for-6 with eight points … sophomore F Chris Walker was efficient offensively, going 2-for-2 from the field and 2-for-3 from the charity stripe for six points … LSU outrebounded UF 21-13 in the second half … the Tigers led for 32:27 of the 40-minute game; the Gators only held a lead for 3:20

“We just got to get better. We just got to get disciplined,” Finney-Smith said after the game. “Losing in the O’Dome … by that many points … we didn’t come to fight.”

18 Comments

  1. SW Fl Joe says:

    This team is as painful to watch as a Muschamp offense

  2. dee says:

    I don’t understand why chris walker cant be more involved in the half court offense and they really need to half court trap or something to make teams uncomfortable

    • Tractorr says:

      Walker can’t be more involved because he doesn’t know what he is doing. He still doesn’t do simple basketball stuff correctly like floor positioning, securing the ball, or ball handling. When a guy can’t even do the basic stuff correctly you can’t put more stuff on him. Walker still needs to learn the game of basketball more and then he should break out, but that is looking more and more like that is a year or more away.

  3. Gatoralum88 says:

    I can see this team going on a LONG losing streak…to the point where getting enough wins for an NIT bid may be tough. Dare we say a losing season is possible? What a disappointment…Billy’s worst team ever. Hey, baseball is pre-season is #2 & softball is #1. Maybe they can bring back some Gator pride.

    • As of today, Florida is not in the NIT.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      BBT maybe at this point, but they have no quality wins at all, they fold against virtually everyone in the 2nd half. their depth isn’t that bad, but when you have to play a walk-on more minutes than a 5 star NBA guy, there are some serious issues.

      I hadn’t seen preseason bball or sball rankings yet, that is encouraging.

      I have to say I am very disappointed in this team. They aren’t as green as people excused them for, while only one was a starter last year, many got significant minutes and the transfers are upper classmen. While the pre-season top 10 ranking was a bit rich, their was valid reason for it. They just seem broken to me and have a kid who was supposed to be their stud that can’t even control the boards.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    Is it just me, or do these guys look beaten up and seem like they just don’t have the heart of previous teams? So many tough losses, they get down, it seems like they just give up

    • Oldflyer says:

      I have never understood BD’s handling of his teams or individual players. Constant suspensions, constantly singling players out for criticism in public, and benching players who are supposed to be the producers.

      I think it has all backfired with this team; and it is a psychological basket case.

      • .?? says:

        Yep, if there is one thing we can question, it’s Donovans style. He’s the one constant on the basketball team over the last 20 years and has yet to prove anything yet.

        • Michael Jones says:

          I get the sarcasm, but what you are saying is half true. Yes, he caught lightning in a bottle with a team that had 3 quality NBA players on it (who are still in the league), a point guard who actually understands basketball, and a spot-up 3 point shooter who was almost automatic. That was great.

          But I would argue that Billy D. is a really good coach, but not a great coach, because of how soft his teams play. Those elite 8 teams were loaded but got embarrassed against scrappier Butler and tougher Louisville, and when things started going South, Billy D. stood on the sideline totally lost. He had no answer. And the two last second plays he drew up against Butler–at the end of regulation and at the end of overtime–two plays that had Walker dribbling away the few precious seconds until a desperation 1-on-3 no-change bomb got heaved was pretty pathetic.

          Love Billy D., but, yeah, his style CAN be questioned.

      • Michael Jones says:

        I’ve always been puzzled by the public criticism as well. . not of the team, which would be okay, but of individuals.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Sorry, but for me, this team is very much like a Billy D. team in many ways. Last year’s team and the 2 national championship teams were obviously the exception. I know, everybody loves Billy D. and it’s sacrilege to dare criticize him. Hey, I like him too. I think he’s a great guy and I loved him as a player (ironically, as a player, he was all heart. . unlike most of his teams).

      The problem is and always will be with the type of players that he typically recruits. We don’t recruit the tough, hard-nosed, high basketball IQ kid. We tend to recruit the sleek, flashy kid. The dribble-the-ball-between-your-legs-and-behind-your-back and I’ve-got-to-get-my-shot kid, instead of the go-hard-to-the-hole and bang-hard-on-the-boards kid. So Billy D’s teams play soft, like last night.

      When tough hard nose teams turn up the intensity, Billy D. teams fold like a house of cards. I’ve seen it for years.

  5. Johnny B says:

    Ken – I agree, they don’t have any leadership amongst themselves. A lot of talented parts that aren’t playing like a team. I think that solid teamwork has been a lot of Billy’s success, but they just aren’t getting it done this year.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I think you nailed what I was feeling. Lack of leadership, which is a shame because there are some experienced players there. MF3 clearly isn’t comfortable bringing the guys together and lifting them on his shoulders. No one really wants to be the “go-to” guy. So when the going gets difficult, there is no one stepping up to keep the parts working smoothly together.

  6. Adam says:

    Ordinarily I like the tough early non-conf schedule, but missing the experience and extra practice that would come with even an NIT bid would be a steep price. Hope these guys figure it out soon.

  7. Michael Jones says:

    Not counting last year’s team or the 2 national championship teams, Billy D’s teams do not have high basketball IQ’s, do not play tough, and have very soft inside presences. Because of the type of basketball that Billy D. coaches, he rarely can recruit a quality big man (e.g. Embiid and others). Billy D.’s guards don’t know how or just refuse to get the ball to a big man who has inside position. It’s like they don’t understand what that means–that a big man who has his man sealed off is open so throw him the damn ball . . .they would rather jack up a contested jumper or some other ill-advised shot or stand around the 3 point line dribbling.

    That’s why the criticism of Chris Walker is unjustified, because he never gets a chance to be involved in the offense. I have seen him make so many open runs to the hoop on the pick and roll only to not get the ball. In the NBA and on quality college teams, those turn into alley-oops.

    As for basketball IQ, the highest one of the team is from one of the less talented guys–Kurtz. He understands ball movement and getting the ball to an open man and interior passing. Most of the others don’t. Reminds me of Erving Walker, who so many people praised but who was actually a train wreck of a point guard who had zero basketball IQ.

    I said this would be a tough year after I saw the William and Mary game . . I knew we were grossly overrated . . and a lot of you got hysterical on me. . calling me a troll and whatever. . . I haven’t heard from you crybabies since.

  8. Mike The Red says:

    I think that Donovan has written this off as a lost year and is focusing on developing young talent. Getting the stuffing knocked out of them builds character.

    Fortunately, he has the track record to get away with that. People tend to cut you slack after a Final Four appearance, 3 Elite Eight appearances, and 3 regular season SEC championships in four years. Not to much two National Championships during your career.

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