Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators again collapse in second half vs. No. 15 Alabama

By Adam Silverstein
January 5, 2022
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators again collapse in second half vs. No. 15 Alabama
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Despite a 14-day layoff amid the holidays and COVID-19 issues within the program, Florida Gators basketball remained consistently inconsistent when it stepped onto Billy Donovan Court at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Wednesday night. After a strong first half, Florida hit an incredible basket-less drought to open the second period and ultimately fell 83-70 to the No. 15 Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Gators were incredibly careless with the ball on the evening, committing a season-high 20 turnovers. They also struggled to grab the ball under the basket, allowing the Crimson Tide to haul in 20 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points and 40 points in the paint. Alabama took 72 attempts from the field compared to just 52 for Florida.

In short, many of the problems that fans have seen saddle UF basketball under head coach Mike White reared their ugly heads once again. It was an inauspicious restart to the season for the program, which should have used this game as a jumping off point for the remainder of the season.

What exactly went down in the Gators’ (delayed) SEC opener? Keep on reading for Fastbreak Takeaways from the game.

It was over when … Bama forward Juwan Gary scored four straight points on quick takes to the hoop to increase the visitors’ lead back to 10 with less than 2 minutes to play.

Florida opened the second half 0 of 9 from the field with seven turnovers while allowing Alabama to outscore it 22-4 as UF fell behind 15 points. The Gators went 11:18 without a basket spanning halftime, and while they put up a fight later in the half, they never recovered. Florida used an extended 18-8 scoring stretch with a set of triples from senior guard Myreon Jones to cut its deficit by five with 6 minutes left before Bama again pulled away.

First half focus: After allowing a four-point play, Florida used an extended 15-3 stretch to lead by seven lead with 5:46 left in the opening period. Alabama quickly tied things up with a 7-0 run, though the Gators outlasted the Tide to lead by three at the break. Senior forward Colin Castleton scored 12 points to start the game as the teams combined to go 8 of 27 from downtown in the opening 20 minutes.

Exceptional efforts: Castleton scored a game-high 19 points but only contributed five in the second half while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Jones matched those seven boards, but while he made the aforementioned triples, he only went 3 of 12 from downtown with 11 points. Junior F CJ Felder was the only other consistent playmaker, posing 12 points and six rebounds.

Odds and ends: Senior point guard Tyree Appleby and redshirt senior G Phlandrous Fleming Jr. combined to go 1 of 12 from the field … Appleby was one of three players to commit four turnovers (Jones, Castleton) … Florida committed a season-high 20 turnovers with Alabama scoring 21 points off those miscues … combining turnovers and offensive rebounds (20), Bama earned 20 more field goal attempts than UF (72-52) … the Gators were dominated in paint scoring 40-26 … UF trailed for the final 17:15

Florida fell to 70-77 all-time against Alabama (4-4 under White) and 41-22 in the O’Dome … this was UF’s fourth game against an AP Top 25 team already this season (2-2) … the Gators fell to 5-2 in SEC openers under White … Florida fell to 9-19 when allowing 80+ points under White

What it means: it was yet another disappointing loss in a spot where Florida should have been more competitive. Perhaps the Gators were knocking off some rust having not been in action for two weeks, but their play was so awful in the second half that they at times appeared non-competitive. UF’s penchant for late collapses after hot starts has been a hallmark of White’s tenure and remains a worrisome development after this team appeared to start the season with gusto. It feels as if the wheels could come off this program at any time, and White’s seat must be getting hotter with each passing game.

What’s next? Florida will hit the road Saturday to battle Auburn at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Gators will not play consecutive games at home until the third week of January.

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