Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators hit low point of season after Ole Miss evisceration

By OnlyGators.com Staff
January 10, 2024
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators hit low point of season after Ole Miss evisceration

Image Credit: UAA

The Florida Gators’ worst performance of the season came at the wrong time as they followed a disastrous home defeat — after leading for the most of that game — by getting boat raced on the road. Florida fell 103-85 to the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday night, trailing the entire second half without being competitive on either end of the court.

What went wrong for the Gators in Oxford, Mississippi? Let’s take a look.

It was over when … Ole Miss used a 20-5 scoring stretch aided by four Florida turnovers and an ice-cold shooting streak (1 of 12) to take a 20-point lead with 12 minutes to play. That advantage increased to 23 points down the stretch, and the Rebels’ 59 points were the most allowed by UF in any half this season.

First half focus: Getting uncharacteristically dominated in the paint early, Florida allowed Ole Miss to battle back from a 17-12 deficit. The Rebels opened a 15-2 run and took take a nine-point lead as the Gators missed 10 straight shots midway through the period. The teams battled to the break with Florida trailing by four, but Ole Miss’ 44 points were the most allowed by UF in any half this season … until the second half.

Exceptional efforts: Junior guard Will Clayton Jr. posted a team-high 23 points but did so on 9 of 21 shooting. Redshirt senior forward Tyrese Samuel, who has been the Gators’ most consistent player this season, committed five turnovers and four fouls while getting beaten in the paint. Even redshirt senior point guard Zyon Pullin, who managed 18 points, went just 6 of 16, while freshman F Alex Condon, who managed a career-high 15 rebounds, went 4 of 10.

Odds & ends: Florida fell to 70-49 all-time against Ole Miss, 23-33 on the road … the Gators are now 4-15 under Golden when trailing at halftime, 1-19 when trailing with 5 minutes left, 2-13 when an opponent shoots 45% or better (1-19 when it outshoots UF) and 2-7 in uniforms other than blue or white (black on Wednesday) … the Rebels’ 16 blocks were a program home record; they also had eight steals … Ole Miss scored 100+ points in a game for the first time in more than 20 years … Florida got 26 offensive rebounds but managed just 20 second-chance points … the Gators were beaten 21-5 on the fastbreak and outscored 24-8 off turnovers

Sophomore G Riley Kugel played just 4 minutes after an awful start where he went 0 of 3 and showed lackadaisical effort on defense; he is 16 of 58 (.276) from the field and 3 of 27 (.111) from downtown with 16 turnovers since the start of December

What it means: This was the Gators’ worst effort of the season — and not just because of the lopsided score. Florida had no answers defensively, despite that being Golden’s specialty. The Gators could get nothing going on offense — certainly not out of timeouts. The Rebels seemed to block every shot they saw. When Florida did get offensive rebounds, it was unable to convert them. Free-throw shooting remained an issue. Even the Gators’ best scorers shot worse than 50% from the field.

Ole Miss basically beat Florida badly at its own game by hustling and dominating the paint. It was fair to expect UF to start slow coming out of the hard-fought Kentucky game, but for it to play this poorly for 40 minutes was simply unacceptable. Even when the Gators only trailed by four points at halftime, it never felt like they were in the contest. In other words, the Rebels’ Chris Beard completely outcoached Golden.

What’s next? Florida will return home to host Arkansas on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in a game that will air live on ESPN. The Gators will spend next week completely away from home, so taking care of business against the Razorbacks is of paramount importance.

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