Fastbreak: Florida bounces back to upend Cincinnati

By Adam Silverstein
December 10, 2017
Fastbreak: Florida bounces back to upend Cincinnati
Basketball

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (6-3) the two worst games of head coach Mike White‘s entire tenure with an impressive victory on Saturday as it took down the No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats (7-2) at the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey. Behind marginally improved shooting but a more impressive defensive effort, the Gators upended the Bearcats 66-60 to salvage a week the team would otherwise like to forget.

Let’s take a look at Florida’s latest victory in Fastbreak:


It was over when … Leading by two with the ball and 27 seconds to play, redshirt sophomore guard Keith Stone drove the lane to attempt one of the most emphatic game-winning dunks of all-time … only to see his one-handed attempt clang off the back of the rim. Redshirt junior G Jalen Hudson‘s timely offensive rebound kept possession with the Gators, and senior point guard Chris Chiozza hit two free throws to put Florida up four with 20 seconds left. Chiozza would go on to drain a fastbreak layup off a steal on Cincinnati’s ensuing possession, giving him the final six points of the game in the last 1:10 of regulation.

Exceptional efforts: The three players that had been stirring the drink for the Gators this season all broke out of their funks on Saturday. Chiozza posted 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with a game-high six assists and four rebounds. Hudson added 17 points, going 6-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-5 from deep with three boards. Graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov was exceptional as well, scoring a game-high 21 points while making 8-of-15 field goals and grabbing a team-high seven boards.

Odds and ends: Florida started slow once again but used an 18-4 run in the first half to go up eight; the Gators did not maintain that lead, but the stretch made it clear this night would be unlike the last two … after shooting below 37 percent from the field and 24 percent from three in consecutive games, UF hit 43 percent of its baskets and 40 percent of its triples on Saturday … Florida’s 82.4 percent mark from the charity stripe was its most efficient this season … the Gators scored 27 points off turnovers but committed 15 for the second time in three games … Florida was once again bested in the paint, getting outrebounded (35-33) and outscored (36-24) down low … in one of UF’s most competitive games of the season, it led for 19:51 but spent 12:24 even with UC

What it means: Like the volleyball team did simultaneously back in Gainesville, Florida, the Gators showed some long-needed grit on Saturday. Not everyone played well (sophomore G KeVaughn Allen was 1-for-5 shooting in 26 minutes, sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes was 0 for 3 and soft defensively, Stone went 1 for 8), but Florida proved it can grind out a victory, which it was unable to do in three straight games including two embarrassing home losses. Perhaps UF can takes those defeats as learning experiences and use this as a building block going forward this season.

Up next: Florida will get a week to get itself together before it takes on Clemson in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. down in Sunrise, Florida. The game will air live nationally where available on FS2.

One Comment

  1. Michael Jones says:

    We looked tougher last night against a very physical but poor shooting Cincinnati team who scored a lot of their points on offensive rebound put backs. We will get dramatically better when we get our inside stopper back.

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