Fastbreak: Florida sweeps Jacksonville stay with blowout win over Mercer

By Adam Silverstein
November 13, 2016
Fastbreak: Florida sweeps Jacksonville stay with blowout win over Mercer

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Florida Gators basketball (2-0) spent the weekend in Jacksonville and left with a two in the win column, caging the Mercer Bears on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Arena after grounding Florida Gulf Coast on Friday. Florida won 70-50 on Sunday, dominating nearly every phase of the game. breaks down Sunday’s win with six quick-hitters.

It was over when … Florida ended the first half on an 18-2 run — capped by a buzzer-beating tip-in by sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes — to take a 22-point lead at the break. The Gators increased that lead to 26 soon after the second half began and never looked back.

Exceptional effort: Senior forward Justin Leon remains a solid contributor for Florida, and he had one of his typically efficient nights on Sunday. Leon posted a team-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, hitting 3-of-5 shots from three and both of his free throws. He added five boards and wound up +13 in 24 minutes of action.

Significant stat: Don’t look now … but the Gators are making their free throws. One of the worst teams in the nation at the line during the 2015-16 season, Florida went 25-for-31 (.806) from the charity stripe on Sunday and is now 45-for-57 (.789) this season. Granted, these free throws have not come in pressure situations, but it’s an important first step.

What it means: Florida did what it was supposed to do, which is thoroughly beat an inferior team. The Gators led for 33:17 of the 40 minutes and mostly stayed out of trouble to complete the Jacksonville sweep.

Odds and ends: Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen (+24) finished with 15 points and filled out the stat sheet but had an off night shooting the ball, making just 3-of-12 shots (2-of-9 threes) along with all seven of his free throws; he also led the way for the Gators with five assists (and four turnovers) while blocking two shots and grabbing two steals … junior forward Devin Robinson posted 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds … point guards senior Kasey Hill and sophomore Chris Chiozza combined to go 2-for-10 … Florida won the rebounding battle 47-32, scored 22 points off turnovers and made the most of its second chances with 24 points … as a team the Gators made just 22-of-61 shots (.360), which is not going to cut it against tougher competition.

Up next: UF will play its lone game of the week on Thursday in Lakeland, Florida, hosting St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will only air live on SEC Network+. It is one of two remaining games this season that will not be televised.

One Comment

  1. Michael J. Duggar says:

    Having had the privilege of attending all the Jacksonville games in person thus far, this team could resemble the 04’s in that the team is pretty much one year older and more mature. But for Justin Leon, they really struggled beyond the arc and it would seem that their first look on the catch was to head-and-ball fake and drive rather than shoot off the catch. Both Allen and Robinson were noticeable but Barry also had pump-fake and drive mentalities. The strategy early is solid but I wonder if the “drive-first” mentality precludes getting off a rhythmic three point shot and could account for some lower 3 point shooting numbers. GO GATORS.

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