Fastbreak: Florida works William & Mary 68-45

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2014

No. 7 Florida Gators basketball opened the 2014-15 season on Friday evening, hosting the William & Mary Tribe at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators took down the Tribe 68-45, winning their 24th consecutive season-opening game and improving to 19-0 in such games under Donovan. UF also extended its home winning streak to 33 games, the longest such streak in program history, which is also tied for the longest active streak in the nation.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Friday’s action with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida held an insurmountable halftime lead but still had its share of struggles in the second period. With five minutes left to play, freshmen point guard Chris Chiozza and forward Devin Robinson hooked up on a pair of plays that pushed the Gators’ lead up to 26. Chiozza first hit Robinson for an alley-oop. On the very next possession, Chiozza took off on a fastbreak, finding Robinson under the basket for a layup that put UF ahead 63-37 with 4:45 to play. Chiozza did it all with four points (2-of-2 shooting) with three assists and two rebounds, while Robinson went 4-for-9 from the field with four boards and a late block.

Prominent player: Redshirt junior F Dorian Finney-Smith sprained his left wrist early in the contest but returned after a short trip to the locker room and wound up as Florida’s top performer on Friday. Finney-Smith scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, hitting all four of his free throws and adding five boards to boot. He netted five-straight as part of a 7-0 UF run in the second half and scored nine of the Gators’ first 13 points in the later period. He left the court late in the second half but most likely as a precaution.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.

First half focus: Florida opened up with some hot shooting, hitting 7-of-8 attempts from the field and all four of their triples to jump ahead 18-8 just six minutes into the game. The Gators stalled when their second unit came into the game but picked it up over the final eight minutes of the half, outscoring the Tribe 21-4 to take a 42-18 lead into the break.

Perfect play: A 15-0 run that lasted 5:18 spotted UF a 22-point lead late in the first half; it was highlighted by a couple of impressive plays including a fastbreak one-handed jam by Finney-Smith. But the play of the game was one possession later, as sophomore PG Kasey Hill stole the ball off the press, worked his way to the hoop and tossed it over his shoulder to a driving Michael Frazier II, who laid it in for an easy two. Hill missed all three of his shots but went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe, adding three assists, four rebounds and two steals with just a single turnover. Frazier, the junior guard, hit 5-of-12 shots and 2-of-6 threes for 12 points with five rebounds and two dimes. He missed his final four attempts from beyond the arc.

Standout stat: UF dominated the boards early on Friday, outrebounding WMU 23-10 in the first half but just 39-31 at the final buzzer. Florida also made 12 of its 15 free throws but drained just 6-of-17 threes, going 1-for-7 in the second half after starting 5-for-10 in the opening 20 minutes.

What it means: The Gators handily beat an opponent in the Tribe that were not expected to be any problem for one of the top teams in the country. UF started the game hot out of the gate, rebounded from some shooting struggles early in the second half and finished strong for the victory.

Next up: Florida will look to correct some issues before hosting Miami on Monday in the O’Dome. The Gators and Hurricanes will tip-off at 7 p.m. in a game that will air live on ESPNU.

Random notes: Florida’s first points of the season came via a three-pointer by redshirt senior transfer center Jon Horford, who hit 4-of-5 shots for 11 points with five rebounds in the game … redshirt senior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz was the first substitution off the bench and led the Gators with seven boards; he also went 3-for-4 from the field, scoring six points in 23 minutes (fifth-most on the team) … redshirt sophomore G Dillon Graham, freshman walk-on G Zach Hodskins and redshirt junior walk-on F Lexx Edwards all saw the court in the season opener

24 Comments

  1. Michael Jones says:

    Looked like a typical Gator basketball team. Would rather launch a bomb or go 1-on-3 than hit a cutter or an open man in the paint. The ball handlers either don’t or won’t see when a player has his man sealed off under the basket. The whole team needs to sit down and watch tape of Kurtz passing the ball inside.

    Robinson epitomizes selfish street basketball. And if he is going to continue to launch bricks from the 3 point line, then Billy D. better get a contractor to reinforce the rims and backboards.

    A lot of flashy talent, but no inside presence or toughness. Classic Gator basketball. We’ll win a few games but get out-toughed, out-fundamentaled, out-banged, and out-basketball-IQed in the ones that count the most.

    • Tractorr says:

      Is the lack of inside presence maybe that our best inside man wasn’t playing?

      • Michael Jones says:

        Of course that’s a factor. We’ll see, man. It’s early. Those were just my observations from yesterday. Tired of seeing guys open in the paint waving their arms at the guy with the ball who is the only one who doesn’t see him open. Sue me.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      A typical Gator basketball team? wow. Really? Maybe we should fire the coach and get a new one because he clearly has no idea what he is doing.

      Yes they take a lot of 3s but sometimes they don’t go in, if they are open, good looks, then most players have the green light. Robinson was taken to task severely after the exhibition for his shooting and poor choices. You really think Billy won’t continue to preach good shots? They played a solid game overall, let alone the first game of the season with a set of players that not only hadn’t played as a unit together before but isn’t ultimately going to be the starting unit.

      Personally, I choose to take the positives from the game rather than a few bad shots. There was a lot of offensive balance, there was defensive intensity, you could tell they all were trying to work it in. Robinson had huge improvement over the exhibition.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Nah, Ken. . I think we should give Billy D. another game or two before we fire him. I like your passion, though, lol. 😉

  2. Chris says:

    Hate much, Michael?

  3. CBoyd says:

    Michael = Troll.

  4. Timmy T says:

    Easssssyyyyy, Mike. I thought the team played extremely well for the first game. Is there room for improvement and GROWTH? You bet there is, and I have faith in Billy D. to try and teach the team as we go. But to pop off with a statement like you did after one game is just asinine and spoiled sounding.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Wow. . that’s pretty funny. Actually, you’re the one who sounds like a baby. I’m all about the Gators and I hope this team goes far, but I know basketball and I stand by what I said. Just because a comment isn’t all gushy and dripping with homer-honey doesn’t make the commenter any less of a Gator.

      You guys crack me up. You’re the ones who need to take it easy, lol. This team has a long way to go and we historically struggle with inside toughness and an inside presence, although Patric Young was an exception last year. We also miss way too many open men under the basket.

      Go Gators!!!

  5. Timmy T says:

    I just read your post again and I want to revise my previous post. You’re a d——-.

  6. Calvin says:

    We’ve still got some ways to go but I’d say they’ve come light years since the exhibition game vs. Barry. Especially on the defensive end.

  7. Michael Jones says:

    Ha ha. . . you goobers kill me. Trust me, I bleed Orange and Blue as much as anyone. The team has talent but has a long way to go to be able to play with the big boys. Donovan has said so himself.

    Sorry that I hurt your delicate little feelings. It’s just my opinion, goofballs. Suck it up.

    • Michael Jones says:

      *correction: the second to last sentence should read: “It’s just my opinion.” Please delete the word “goofballs.” Thank you.

  8. Maurice P. says:

    Its not you hurt “our” feelings Mike but more so that fact this is a young team and your criticism isnt constructive. I know for a fact that some players read this this stuff. I am just as passionate as the next fan, but as Florida fans we jump ship to quick in my opinion. For instance, were are these fools that were chanting “Fire Muschamp”. Though I agree he waited to long to bench Jeff I believe he was trying help build up a young man who I havent forgot gave us good QB play in 2012. As Florida fans, I know we have the right to voice our opinion, but we need to harsh analytics to the coaches who know how coach for improvement but also understands that its more than football or basketball sometimes…

    • Michael Jones says:

      Actually, Maurice, I agree with a lot of what you’ve said. I disagree that my criticisms weren’t constructive. I’m not sure why some of you see them as being so harsh, unless you’re talking about Robinson. Robinson is clearly a stud but needs to learn to play team basketball. Hell, Donovan said as much himself after the exhibition game. But a few little adjustments and I expect him to be a huge contributor to the Gator basketball team. I think he has a huge upside.

      And Chiozza reminded me a lot of Wilbekin with his defense. And there were other good things. Really liked Horford.

      So, if you read what I had to say more carefully and more objectively, my points are (1) stopping ignoring open men under the basket and (2) hit the boards hard, including boxing out, and (3) work the ball and play team basketball. Play smart and play with heart. No biggie and nothing earth-shattering, lol.

      That’s it. Going to watch football. Go Gators!!!

      Out.

  9. fan says:

    Michael Jones says:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Making yourself look like an ass and then hiding behind the “I bleed orange and blue” excuse is pathetic.

    Three twelve…a.m.

    • Michael Jones says:

      I guess you think you just said something profound, but in cybergeek code . . and at 6:04 a.m. . since apparently the time of a post is significant to you.

      I’m not hiding behind anything. I bleed Orange and Blue, AND the team looks soft at this point. Do you actually have anything to say about basketball? Or do you just lob cheap shots from the peanut gallery in response to other comments?

      Apparently my critique has become more important than the game itself, lol. Thank you, but I’m really not that important.

  10. Jimy says:

    What happened to Carter? He played well early then didn’t play again ?

  11. Dan Slaybaugh says:

    It’s just that your opinion isn’t very good that upsets some. Was last years team “typical” when they went undefeated in the conference?

    • Michael Jones says:

      No. Last year’s team was decidedly atypical. They were tough, they were scrappers, they had heart, they fought, they overachieved, they were fun to watch. We’ll see whether this team develops into something similar or if it continues to look like past editions of 3-point launching teams that have little heart and absolutely no inside game to fall back on on those days when the 3 isn’t falling.

      Good lord, man, everybody needs to calm down and breathe, lol. It’s early. Those were just honest observations. Disagree if you want but it’s silly to me how some of you have taken it so personally, particularly when–if you’re honest and objectively read what I had to say–my criticisms are valid. For example, I guess it’s okay when Donovan says that Robinson takes bad shots, too many shots, and takes them too quickly. . but if I say it, it’s heresy, lol.

      That’s it, guys. Raise all the hell you want. I’m done responding to you. We’ll see how it plays out and how this team develops. Just like I’m hoping with Muschamp, I would love nothing more than for them to prove me wrong.

      • HeadOfficial says:

        “Michael Jones says:
        November 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm
        Looked like a typical Gator basketball team. Would rather launch a bomb or go 1-on-3 than hit a cutter or an open man in the paint. The ball handlers either don’t or won’t see when a player has his man sealed off under the basket. The whole team needs to sit down and watch tape of Kurtz passing the ball inside.

        Robinson epitomizes selfish street basketball. And if he is going to continue to launch bricks from the 3 point line, then Billy D. better get a contractor to reinforce the rims and backboards.

        A lot of flashy talent, but no inside presence or toughness. Classic Gator basketball. We’ll win a few games but get out-toughed, out-fundamentaled, out-banged, and out-basketball-IQed in the ones that count the most.”

        This is not criticism! That is troll speak! If you had made the comments you made later after everyone challenged you it would have been seen in a better light!

        “Michael Jones says:
        November 15, 2014 at 3:07 am
        Ha ha. . . you goobers kill me. Trust me, I bleed Orange and Blue as much as anyone.”

        A true “Orange and Blue” fan is always an alumni. What year did you attend the University of Florida?

        A proud “Orange and Blue” 1982 grad!

        • Michael Jones says:

          I graduated in December of 1983, Mr. HeadOfficial, sir. And if you graduated in 1982, that makes you a little old to have such a reactionary, baby-fied response to my criticisms. It was great that Billy D got us to 3 straight Elite Eights, but those teams lost to less-talented but tougher teams and usually choked down the stretch for lack of toughness. And the early signs are that this team has some of the same jack-it-up and avoid-the-paint qualities that team had.

          I am so tired of whiners like you acting like somebody who has legitimate criticisms of the Gators somehow isn’t a real fan, or as much of a fan as you are. Plus I’ve probably forgotten more basketball than most of you will ever know.

          By the way, I continue to stand by every single word that I said. It was really a good critique. Try reading it again but without the tears to dim your vision, and you will see that I made good points.

          Enjoy the game tonight. I’ll be hollering at all you crybabies when it’s over.

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