After playing their best half of the season, the Florida Gators returned to old ways offensively.
The No. 11 Kansas Jayhawks (6-1) defeated the Florida Gators (3-4) 71-65 as they outscored UF in the second half 47-26 after trailing 15 points at halftime.
Wayne Selden, Jr., scored 21 points for the Jayhawks to push the Gators under .500 for the first time since the 1998 season, which was a run of 17 seasons. Florida has also loss for the fourth time in seven games and now has more losses than they did all of last season.
“These guys need to learn how to win,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “Right now these guys are having to do a lot of heavy lifting and it takes time to understand what that heavy lifting is like.”
Florida looked like an entirely different team in the first half playing their best ball all season with a 54 percent shooting mark, while holding Kansas to 35 percent and added 13 second chance points compared to Kansas’ two.
The Gators had a pair of career highs in points from freshman guard Devin Robinson — with 13 points to lead UF scorers — followed by forward Chris Walker with 12. Both added five rebounds.
But the Gators got tired and showed fatigue in the second half as Kansas pushed behind their loud crowd on a 17-0 run to gas out the Gators.
“I’m sure fatigue definitely played a factor, there’s no question about it,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “But you got to be able to fight through that and you know what? We had some really bad possessions inside of our offense. We turned it over more, we lost the ball and then we had some shots that were like really wide open. Our offense got stagnant there.”
Florida returned to shooting like they did while in the Bahamas, flirting with the 30 percent range as they decreased their efficiency from a 54 first half percentage to 34 percent in the second.
“I don’t know what it is, but something happens to us in the second half,” Donovan said of his team’s presence after halftimes. “And it’s, I don’t know.”
With poor games in terms of closing an opponent out, Florida has now allowed Miami, ULM and now Kansas to all come back after holding a lead to win the game and Donovan doesn’t even have the words for it.
The offense went barren cold as the Gators couldn’t score a field goal for about seven and half minutes that started from the 8:35 mark in the second half to the final minute.
Kansas finished the game with a victory, but shot a lower field goal and 3-point percentage than Florida, but still got the W by shooting well at the free throw line. The Jayhawks made 27 free throws compared to the Gators seven.
The road doesn’t get easier for Florida as they face Yale, who beat UConn earlier on the night, up next on Monday.
“There’s going to be no easy wins for us, you know there’s just not,” Donovan said. “We’re not talented enough, we’re not good enough. That will be an unbelievable challenge for us come Monday.”