By: Ryan Randall
A 75-50 win in most instances is the sign of a dominating performance.
However, the numbers don’t always tell the entire story.
While the Florida Gators led Texas Southern the entire game, the team showed they have a still have work ahead of them in order to be successful in conference and postseason play. Florida lacked aggression on the boards, unable to pull down and ball on occasion. In turn, the Tigers were able to keep plays alive.
Dorian Finney-Smith and Jon Horford had seven and six rebounds, respectively. The next highest was four, by Devin Robinson. Although head coach Billy Donovan credited the two big men, as well as Jacob Kurtz, Donovan expected more from team overall.
“They missed shots, and even some shots that they missed, we did not do a particularly good job of guarding,” Donovan said. “I thought Jake Kurtz did the best job, in terms of putting his body in plays and trying to take charges and step up, but like, a guy like Chris Walker should dominate the glass in a game like this, he gets two rebounds.”
In addition to the rebounds, Florida looked off-balance defensively at times. After scoring only one point in the first half, Texas Southern guard Chris Thomas finished with 15 points, as well as going 2-4 from three-point range. At one point in the game, a Texas Southern player was left open on three-pointer, much to the ire of Donovan.
However, the Tigers were clearly a weaker team than the Gators, missing many good looks and coming up short with a smaller frontcourt. Florida did make key defensive stops in the game as well, but will need a more consistent effort as they face teams that will finish baskets that Texas Southern struggled with.
“I think you look down at the stat sheet in this game and the numbers, give up 50 points, the shooting percentages, and you say, ‘Wow what a defensive performance,’” Donovan said. “We were not very good defensively at all. I mean, we got beat multiple times off the dribble, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds.”
Playing a schedule that has already seen stiff competition from Miami, Georgetown, North Carolina and Kansas, the Gators will need to show signs of progression in games against weaker competition. After a 38-point victory over Yale on Monday, it seemed as if Florida had turned a corner, but showed Friday night there are still growing pains amongst the young team.
Donovan said Sunday’s game against Jacksonville would be another opportunity for the Gators to make strides. Florida showed plenty of positives from the win over Texas Southern- the progression of freshmen Devin Robinson and Chris Chiozza, as well as the playmaking abilities of Chris Walker and Dorian Finney-Smith- but will look to sure up the inconsistencies on offense and defense before January, when they face UConn and begin conference play.
Florida’s 75-50 win over Texas Southern masked the issues the team needs to work on, but is another victory obtained on a long road ahead for the Gators.