Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators bounce back, decimating North Florida

By Adam Silverstein
December 8, 2021
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators bounce back, decimating North Florida

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

No. 20 Florida Gators basketball exorcised some demons following its embarrassing loss 48 hours ago by annihilating the North Florida Ospreys 85-55 on Wednesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators never trailed in the game and improved in a lot of key areas where they struggled earlier this week.

Whether that reinvigorated play will continue remains to be seen, but with a tough test coming up this weekend, Florida put its best foot forward in an important get-right game. The Gators dominated in both halves on Wednesday, ensuring that there was no chance for a comeback or upset as they experienced in their last couple of games.

What went down as Florida improved to 7-2 on the season? Keep on reading with Fastbreak Takeaways.

It was over when … the Gators opened the second half on a 12-0 run to lead by 30 with 16:55 to play. Florida achieved an 11-point lead just 6:30 into the game and ballooned that advantage to 18 by halftime as it scored 17 points off 18 North Florida turnovers. The Ospreys were simply never in the game.

Exceptional efforts: Senior forward Colin Castleton was dominant throughout the game, scoring a career-high 26 points on 9 of 17 shooting with eight rebounds. Castleton, who made 8 of 11 free throws in the first half and never returned to the line in the second half, led UF in scoring for the fourth time this season. Senior guard Tyree Appleby also had a nice bounce-back performance, scoring 13 points on 3 of 3 shooting, hitting his lone 3-point attempt and 6 of 8 gimmies. Senior G Myreon Jones led a concerning long-range effort, going just 1 of 5 from downtown, but finished with 14 points and four boards.

Chief concern: The Gators bounced back with renewed effort in the paint and on defense, but they continue to struggle massively beyond the arc. Florida finished 5 of 23 from 3-point range on Wednesday, moving to 14 of 71 (.197) over the last three games. That stretch includes back-to-back losses — one of them arguably the most embarrassing in program history — proving that shooting of this low caliber will cost UF against far better opponents than UNF.

Odds and ends: Florida absolutely dominated inside, outscoring North Florida 48-26 in the paint … the Gators did lose the rebounding battle but largely because they made 11 more shots than the Ospreys … UF never trailed in the game … Florida scored 33 points off 28 turnovers, its most since 2002 … UF forced 21 with steals, its fifth-most all-time and most since 1999 … the Gators won fastbreak scoring 28-7

Florida improved to 10-0 all-time against North Florida (6-0 under White) … the Gators are now 101-19 against Atlantic Sun teams (11-0 under White) … Florida improved to 57-3 when scoring 80+ points and 42-3 when allowing fewer than 60 under White

What it means / what’s next? Yes, the Gators shook off some tough memories, but they aren’t going to disappear, and their effort Wednesday doesn’t change what happened against Texas Southern. Florida has a lot more building and improving to do in order for it to be trusted again. It will have an opportunity to do just that Sunday when it battles Maryland in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The game will tip at 4:30 p.m. ET and air live nationally on Big Ten Network.

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