Fastbreak: Florida collapses again in loss to Clemson

By Adam Silverstein
December 16, 2017
Fastbreak: Florida collapses again in loss to Clemson

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 22 Florida Gators basketball (6-4) has now dropped four of its last five games, a couple in embarrassing fashion, after allowing the Clemson Tigers (9-1) to come from behind late to pull off a 71-69 victory in the 2017 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Let’s take a look at another UF loss victory in Fastbreak:

It was over when … The Gators led by nine late in the contest but once again collapsed late, allowing the Tigers to rattle off 10 unanswered points and take the lead at 67-66 with 1:30 to play. Florida did regain the advantage on a hustle play by senior point guard Chris Chiozza, but it was Chiozza hanging on to the ball too late into the shot clock on the ensuing possession that ultimately led to UF’s defeat. Rushing an offensive play with the clock inside five seconds, sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen heaved a three that did not touch the rim with 42 seconds to play. The referees chose not to stop play with a shot clock violation, allowing CU an uncontested layup at the other end to go up 69-68. Another missed three by Allen followed by two free throws and smart fouling from Clemson put the game away.

Exceptional efforts: Redshirt junior G Jalen Hudson was nails early in the game but faltered late, missing a point-black baseline layup and clanking a three both inside the final two minutes. He went 4-for-8 from downtown to finish with a game-high 23 points but only posted three in the last 10 minutes of action.

Odds and ends: Clemson was in the bonus for the final 14 minutes of the second half due to an incredible foul disparity; as such, the Tigers held a 30-17 free throw edge, and though they only made two-third of those attempts, it was more than the nine bucketed by the Gators … Florida once again shot below 42 percent from the field, while Clemson made 50 percent of its shots on the afternoon … the Gators are now 16-3 all-time in the OBBC, ending a seven-game win streak in the tournament … Chiozza made half his shots but had three turnovers and four fouls … graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov went 2-for-8 from the field with three turnovers and three fouls … Allen only made 5-of-13 baskets on the afternoon and did not take a single foul shot

What it means: This marks Florida’s worst start to a season since 1996-97, when it also began 6-4 in nonconference play during Billy Donovan’s first season. It is the first time since 1995-96 that the Gators have lost four of five games in nonconference play. Clemson is no slouch, so this is not as terrible as UF’s defeat at the hands of Loyola-Chicago, but it is nevertheless telling how Florida is losing games late despite either having large or short leads in the final few minutes.

Up next: The Gators will close out the primary nonconference portion of their schedule next week when they play two games in a span of three days at home. Florida hosts James Madison on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Incarnate Word on Friday at 7 p.m. Both games will air live nationally on SEC Network.


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