Fastbreak: Six things to know as inconsistent Gators edge Rebels in O’Dome

By Adam Silverstein
January 3, 2017
Fastbreak: Six things to know as inconsistent Gators edge Rebels in O’Dome

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 24 Florida Gators basketball (11-3, 2-0 SEC) is now a unanimous top-25 team, and it was expected to blow out the Ole Miss Rebels (9-5, 0-2 SEC) on Tuesday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. And while Florida did earn a 70-63 win, it did not go as planned for head coach Mike White breaks down the win below.

It was over when … Graduate transfer guard Canyon Barry drained a triple with five minutes to play, boosting Florida ahead by 18 and basically ending the game. While the Gators were outscored 18-7 from there, they were never truly in danger of coughing up the lead. Barry broke out of a slump with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, hitting 3-of-6 threes and grabbing a couple boards in 22 minutes.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen continued his hot shooting on Tuesday, draining 4-of-7 threes for 14 points. He’s hit 14-of-23 treys over the last three games, totaling 54 points in that span. Outside of Barry and Allen, the rest of Florida’s players went 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Significant stats: Tuesday marked the second straight game that the Gators were awful at the charity stripe, hitting 52.4 percent of their free throws and under 60 percent in consecutive games after starting the season so well from the line. Adding to that was a terrible shooting performance overall. Florida attempted 60 shots on the game (13 more than Ole Miss) but only netted one additional field goal. Similarly, the Gators’ field goal defense was substandard with them allowing the Rebels to hit 51 percent of their shots, though the hosts did force a ridiculous 21 turnovers on the evening while only coughing up the ball 10 times.

Odds and ends: Florida was beat on the boards (34-28) and in paint scoring (32-24) as redshirt junior center John Egbunu once again began the game on the bench and only played 23 minutes; he went 3-of-6 for seven points with five boards … point guards senior Kasey Hill and junior Chris Chiozza combined to go 1-for-7 from the charity stripe; Hill also committed five turnovers on the evening, though he did swipe the ball six times … after a couple solid games, junior forward Devin Robinson fell off with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting and no boards … Florida led for 36:23 of the 40-minute game and only trailed for 16 seconds … the Gators led by a game-high 20 points with 11 minutes to play in the game

What it means: UF was expected to win this game, so while a victory is always important, it was not what you would call surprising. Still, it was a solid win over an opponent and coach that has given it problems in the past.

Up next: Florida will play its second of four games in 11 days on Saturday when it hosts Tennessee at 5:15 p.m. in a game that will air live nationally on ESPN2.

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