Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators rout Grambling State in return to O’Dome

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 22, 2023
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators rout Grambling State in return to O’Dome

Image Credit: UAA

Playing just their second game in Gainesville, Florida, over the last month, the Florida Gators wasted no time routing the Grambling State Tigers at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Prevailing 96-57, Florida outscored GSU by 17 points or more in both halves and never trailed in the contest.

Let’s take a look at what went down in the O’Dome ahead of the holiday weekend.

It was over when … freshman center Alex Condon scored five straight points as part of a 6-0 run to push the Gators ahead 65-38 with 12:18 to play. Florida never led by less than 25 points over the duration of the contest, going up by as many as 43 after freshman F Thomas Haugh scored five points as part of a 9-0 run in the final couple minutes.

First half focus: After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Gators opened an 11-point lead thanks to a run of that exact length less than 7 minutes into the game. Florida eventually led by 21 points after a rare 3-pointer from redshirt senior forward Tyrese Samuel, though Grambling cut its deficit to 17 points afte scoring on consecutive baskets before the break.

Exceptional efforts: Samuel posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds for the second straight game, and junior guard Will Richard was notably efficient hitting 5 of 9 triples for a team-high 17 points. The Gators had five double-digit scorers in the game, including redshirt senior point guard Zyon Pullin, who was nearly perfect in the contest scoring 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting with 6 assists, 5 boards and neither a turnover nor a foul.

Odds & ends: Florida improved to 29-1 all-time against SWAC teams with a victory in its first meeting against Grambling State … the Gators improved to 5-0 at home this season and now sit one game away from an undefeated nonconference slate in the O’Dome for the first time since 2013-14 … sophomore G Riley Kugel, who has been struggling of late, missed the game with a foot injury

What it means: Not much. Florida accomplished its goal by dominating an overmatched team. Perhaps most notable was the Gators never trailed, leading for 38:37 of the 40-minute game. Florida dominated the paint as usual but impressively registered 27 assists on 38 made baskets. It also hit 9 of 10 attempts from the charity stripe, its best mark of the season at the free throw line.

What’s next: The Gators will play their final tune-up game before the SEC schedule begins next Saturday when it hosts Quinnipiac for a 1 p.m. ET tip off that will air live on ESPNU. Florida will then get another week off before opening conference play at home against Kentucky.

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