Florida basketball score, takeaways: Worst SEC road loss in four years at Ole Miss

By Adam Silverstein
February 8, 2020
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Worst SEC road loss in four years at Ole Miss

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

When recapping Florida Gators basketball’s last game, it was stressed in this space that the team’s inconsistency made it impossible to know what result to expect on a game-by-game basis. That description was plenty apt Saturday as Florida suffered its worst road loss in Southeastern Conference play over the last four seasons, getting routed 68-51 by an Ole Miss Rebels team that was .500 entering the game.

The Gators (14-9, 6-4 SEC) had a chance to maintain their spot one game back of first place in the SEC but instead got absolutely blitzed in their lowest-scoring game of the season against one of the worst teams in the league in the Rebels (12-11, 3-7 SEC).

Let’s have a look at some fastbreak takeaways from another disappointing loss for Florida basketball as the chances to ensure it is an NCAA Tournament team start to thin out over the final month-plus of the regular season.

It was over when … Florida’s effort to cut its double-digit deficit was thwarted by an 8-2 run by Ole Miss, which took a 14-point lead with 8:03 to play. The Gators were not shooting consistently enough to expect they could come back from that deficit, and in fact, they only made two field goals over the final 7:42 of the game. UF’s 51 total points were a season low as it shot just .333 from the field and .217 from beyond the arc. It was just 9 of 28 from the field and 2 of 12 from downtown in the second half, missing its final seven shots of the game and going scoreless for the final 4:13.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson was once again the most efficient and consistent player for Florida, scoring a team-high 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting with 10 rebounds for a double-double. Redshirt senior F Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 11 points by way of going 5 for 5 from the line, adding six boards and three assists.

What’s wrong? Head coach Mike White is going to receive plenty of blame for this loss and the team’s play all season, and he deserves it, but the Gators also missed a significant number of open shots both in the paint and beyond the arc over the course of Saturday’s game. The team is inefficient shooting the ball, and when it does not go in the basket, its lacks effort on the defensive end.

There also appear to be some internal issues as a source told OnlyGators.com that White, in private conversation, is concerned with the team’s chemistry and minute demands from a number of players. In fact, he was legitimately worried that Florida would fall on the road at SEC bottom-dweller Vanderbilt back on Feb. 1. The Gators won that game and authored a 22-point comeback at home against Georgia earlier this week. And yet, they came out with a horrendous effort at Ole Miss to waste those gains.

Odds and ends: Ole Miss scored 16 points off 15 Florida turnovers … the Gators have just seven fastbreak points over the last two games (vs. 28) … the Rebels led for 36:42 of the 40-minute game … Florida’s bench shot .167 from the floor and .000 from three … Florida fell to 67-47 all-time against Ole Miss, including 23-31 on the road and 5-2 under White

What it means: As we wrote earlier this week, who knows what to expect from this team?! Florida has lost four of its last six games, though two of those defeats (at LSU, vs. Baylor) were to talented programs. However, it has now lost to previously 11-11 Ole Miss, 10-12 Missouri and 14-8 Mississippi State in SEC play. The Gators have work to do in order to ensure they are an NCAA Tournament team, and the road in front of them is no easier than the one they have travelled so far.

What’s next? Florida will play another road game next week at Ole Miss on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET in a game that will air live nationally on SEC Network. Like Ole Miss, the Aggies are another middle-of-the-pack .500 SEC team.


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