Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators roll past Texas A&M in second half

By Adam Silverstein
February 12, 2020
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators roll past Texas A&M in second half

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators basketball faced another must-win game against a .500 SEC team on the road Wednesday night, but this time they pulled through. Florida (15-9, 7-4 SEC) rolled with a dominant second-half performance to a 78-60 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies (11-12, 5-6 SEC) in College Station, Texas.

While this does not count as a signature victory for the Gators by any means, it is a nice first step in what should be a 2-0 week for a team that badly needs to add wins to its resume as the regular season comes to a close. Wednesday night certainly marked a key SEC road win in that regard, especially seeing as UF had just suffered a tough, embarrassing loss to another .500 SEC team last week.

Let’s take a closer look at the Gators’ victory with some fastbreak takeaways.

It was over when … freshman guard Scottie Lewis drained a three to put Florida ahead 63-45 with 7:34 to play. The Gators led by only three at the break but outscored the Aggies 26-11 to open the second half. Lewis’ triple came on the back end of an 8-0 run that put Florida so far in front that a comeback by an often poor-shooting Texas A&M team was highly unlikely.

Though UF played well offensively over the first 20 minutes, its defense was supremely lacking. TAMU was able to hit 50 percent from the field and keep the game close, forcing the visitors to play hard out of the second half to pull away. The Gators led by as many as 22 points with less than 4 minutes to play, absolutely dominating the latter half of the game.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomores point guard Andrew Nembhard and G Noah Locke were fantastic over the course of the evening. Nembhard scored a game-high 24 points by hitting 9 of 11 from the field with five dimes, while Locke posted 21 points on 5 of 10 shooting from beyond the arc. Their combined 45 points bested their teammates’ total (33). Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson remained his consistent self with another double-double, registering 10 points and game-highs of 10 rebounds and six assists (the latter also a career-high). Lewis scored an efficient nine points with all of hits shots coming from beyond the arc (3 of 4).

Odds and ends: Florida improved to 8-4 all-time against Texas A&M and evened its record in series road games (3-3) … the Gators matched a season-high with 12 three-pointers … the Aggies shot 15 percent worse from the field and 30 percent worse from three in the second half … Florida was outscored 6-14 in the paint in the first half and outscored Texas A&M 14-6 inside in the second half … UF won the rebounding battle 36-20 … Nembhard scored 24+ points for the third time this season

What it means: Florida took care of business by beating a .500 SEC team on the road, something it was unable to do last week. It deserves credit for that but not much more considering how hot and cold this team can be any given game. The Gators are firmly on the bubble of the 2020 NCAA Tournament with seven regular-season games to play plus the 2020 SEC Tournament in mid-March.

What’s next? The first of consecutive home games, Florida will host SEC bottom-dweller Vanderbilt on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in a game that will air live nationally on SEC Network. The Gators defeated the Commodores 61-55 back on Feb. 1.

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