Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators flat again in loss to Utah State

By Adam Silverstein
December 21, 2019
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators flat again in loss to Utah State

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Just a few days after looking like they may have turned the corner, Florida Gators basketball (7-4) proved it hardly made any progress over its extended break in a 65-62 loss to the Utah State Aggies that showed once again how poor the Gators perform on the offensive end of the floor. Florida’s loss dropped it to 17-4 all-time at the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, an event it has routinely dominated at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

What went wrong for the Gators on Saturday afternoon in the Sunshine State? Let’s have a look with some fastbreak takeaways from the game.

It was over when … Utah State drained a three with 1:50 to play, capping a 7-0 run and extending its lead to six. While Florida technically had plenty of time to come back, it was clear the Gators did not have the offensive firepower on Saturday to get the job done. UF ended the game 3-of-11 from the field — and two of those makes were gimmies with the clock winding down. It was the third time this season that Florida shot .400 or worse from the field (.323), all games in which it has lost. Saturday also marked the third time the Gators have posted a single-digit assist total, which it also did in its last game.

Exceptional efforts: While it is tough to call a 3-for-14 shooting performance “exceptional,” redshirt senior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. did effort his way to the charity stripe and hit 15-of-17 free throws to finish with a game-high 22 points along with 14 rebounds for another double-double. Freshman guard Scottie Lewis was the most efficient player on the team (5 of 9, 11 points, five boards), though that was not saying much. Blackshear and Lewis combined for 53.2 percent of the team’s scoring.

Odds and ends: The Aggies led for 25:57 of the 40-minute game and distributed the ball far better with 19 assists on 24 baskets, keeping the Gators on their heels defensively the entire game … sophomore G Noah Locke and F Keyontae Johnson combined to go 6-of-25 from the floor and 2-of-9 from three … Florida won the rebounding battle (41-33) and dominated second-chance points (21-7) but did not score a single fastbreak point on Saturday … this is the fifth time in six seasons that UF has 4+ losses before the start of the new year

What it means: It’s time for head coach Mike White to find some answers because the questions are piling up. Why are the Gators unable to move the ball offensively? Why are they unable to operate offense either off the fastbreak or in the halfcourt? When will they start maximizing the top-tier talent that has been recruited to this team over the last two seasons? How will Florida fare when it enters a difficult SEC schedule after opening the seasons with Elite Eight aspirations? There are already plenty of calls for White to be fired. While those may be a bit premature given how much season is left, UF not finding a way to improve could make this season ugly — and fast.

What’s next? Florida ends the year and its primary nonconference slate next Saturday when it hosts Long Beach State at noon ET. The game will air live nationally on SEC Network.


Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux