In their second conference game of the season, the Florida Gators poured on a 25-point beating of the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday night.
After speaking about building the program’s culture to help move the team forward as a unit for the rest of the season, the Gators were able to do just that, clicking on all cylinders for the first time this season.
Here are the 5 Takeaway’s from the Florida-Mississippi State game:
When Eli shoots, he scores
Billy Donovan described it best. He said Carter’s shot chart over his career is like an EKG exam. It’s either up or down. But considering everything Carter has gone through this season after coming off a broken leg, having a mid-foot sprain to then battling strep throat, he’s mentally overcome it all. Now, almost being back to 100 percent, Carter is able to have performances just like he had against Miami when he put up 21 points.Growing different aspects of the game other than producing offensively, such as taking charges or dishing assists, Carter is a difference maker for his squad.
Carter’s Take: “It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders, it feels good being out there being able to help my brothers. I continue to get in rehab every single day, I’m just trying to stay healthy for the rest of the year, it’s been great so far.”
Conference W count plus uno
Florida hasn’t been defeated by an SEC foe since two seasons ago. After last year’s remarkable 18-0 perfect run, the Gators remain unbeaten in the regular season SEC slate after adding wins over South Carolina and Miss. St. Florida is now one of four teams that have finished Week 1 of SEC play with a 2-0 record joining Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Donovan’s Take: “I think, in my opinion for this team was the fact that our schedule was so challenging. We were forced to deal with the truth, we were forced to grow, we were forced to confront things we need to get better at.”
Ball Movement = Buckets
As we’ve seen it happen, when the Gators move the ball and don’t let their opponent lock down on defense they’ve proven to be elite. Against South Carolina there was a total of 14 assists and when Florida defeated Miss. St., it increased to 19. A total of 33 assists in the last two games is what enables a team to score and UF did. With back-to-back games scoring 72 points, this is what can concern quality opponents when facing the Gators.
Miss St. head coach Rick Ray’s Take: “I told our team before the game that Florida is one of the best teams in the nation on help defense and I think they are one of the best teams in the nation as far as sharing the basketball.”
Time Tells All
It did take some time and it didn’t happen as quickly as people wanted. Yes, 7-6 was Florida’s non-conference schedule. Yes, many people want to forget that. Billy Donovan doesn’t. After stating post game, that his group playing like a unit now, all he wants his players to remember is how those challenges and when facing adversity will aid them for the future. Don’t turn the page that quick. Understand what it took to get here and now take it as a lesson learned.
Donovan’s Take: “We have a better focus. We’re moving on becoming a better team.”
Eli Carter (20), Dorian Finney-Smith (16) and Devin Robinson (12) all scored in double-figures to ignite the offense. When the Gators have two or more players scoring in double digits, they are 9-5. A better chance to win comes when more players can produce. And with this year’s team, it’s evident and well-needed.
Hill’s Take: “When we work together, we win. But we have to be together for us to win.”