Florida basketball score vs. Stanford: Gators split first two games in the Bahamas

By Adam Silverstein
November 22, 2018
Florida basketball score vs. Stanford: Gators split first two games in the Bahamas

Image Credit: Courtney Culbreath, UAA Communications

Through two games in the 2018 Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas, the Florida Gators have looked like two completely different teams. After struggling to score in a 65-60 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday, Florida (3-2) bounced back to rout the Stanford Cardinal 72-49 on Thursday in the loser’s bracket.

It has not been the best start to the 2018-19 season for the Gators, and it is starting to look like they may struggle to be relevant for most of the campaign. Still, Thursday was a nice rebound effort from a tough Wednesday performance, so let’s take a look at what went down in the third win of the season.

It was over when … the game hit halftime. Florida led 32-13 at the break as Stanford hit just 5 of 23 shots and turned the ball over 13 times over the first 20 minutes. It’s not so much that the Gators were playing lights out, they just held onto the ball and made 44.4 percent of their shots. That sounds unspectacular — and UF played much better in the second half — but it was enough to get the job done and knock SU down further in the tournament.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomore guard Deaundrae Ballard followed up a lackluster performance Wednesday with a breakout effort Thursday, scoring a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting while making 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc. He did not fill out much more of the stat sheet, but he made his mark by simply getting the ball in the basket. Freshman G Noah Locke, pushed into the starting lineup by head coach Mike White in place of underperforming redshirt senior Jalen Hudson, posted 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from deep in his first career start. Hudson saw just seven minutes of action after going 2 for 8 for four points in 21 minutes on Wednesday. Senior G KeVaughn Allen also dropped in 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Odds and ends: Florida shot .389 from the field against Oklahoma and improved to .518 against Stanford but has continued to struggle shooting the ball with consistency … the Gators led in most major categories including turnovers (11-20), rebounds (31-26), bench scoring (29-22), points in the paint (32-14) and steals (15-2) … however, UF did have just 10 assists to 11 giveaways … Florida led for 36:46 of the 40-minute game

What it means: It was good to see the Gators perform better after their best players struggled mightily against the Sooners (and were clearly lambasted by White for it), but Florida is not looking any better five games into the season. It does have an opportunity to get the ball rolling as it has one more game in the Bahamas before returning home.

Up next: UF will face either Butler or Middle Tennessee on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU in the fifth-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

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