Reliving the best individual performances 2016-17: Florida Gators basketball

After missing the NCAA Tournament in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, last year’s Elite Eight brought excitement back to Florida Gators basketball. As anticipation builds for this year’s expectation-rich season, I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s highlights. Here were some of the best individual performances by Gators.

 

Kasey Hill

11 Assists vs. Arkansas-Little Rock

Gators Win 94-71

December 21, 2016

 

Kasey Hill’s tight handle and breakneck speed were on full display in this one as he constantly broke down defenders and found teammates for open looks, leading the Gators to shoot 16-31 from beyond the arc. Perhaps most importantly about this performance; though Florida went into this game unranked, the win propelled them into the Top 25 and they didn’t drop out for the rest of the season.

 

Canyon Barry

Two 4-Point Plays vs. Georgia

Gators Win 80-76 (OT)

January 14, 2017

 

Canyon Barry was all over this game, and his 27 points and 7 rebounds would have warranted him being on this list on its own right. However, the unique accomplishment he had was getting fouled on two made three point shots, and completely the (underhanded) foul shots for 4-point plays. These are extremely rare in basketball at any level, and it could be a long time before someone gets two of them in college basketball like Barry did.

 

Chris Chiozza

Triple Double vs. Missouri

Gators Win 93-54

February 2, 2017

 

Coming off a 10 assist game against LSU a week prior, Chris Chiozza stayed hot with an elusive triple double against the Tigers. Notching 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, this is the game where Chiozza put himself on the basketball map. Though putting up 12 points and 10 assists would be tough for any player, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the feat is the 12 boards he hauled in as a 6’0”, 175 pound guard.

 

Kasey Hill

21 Point vs. Kentucky

Gators Win 88-66

February 4, 2017

 

Kasey Hill had his ups and downs last year, but against Kentucky, with College Game Day set up in Gainesville, he brought his best. Against future NBA lottery picks De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, Hill collected 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. In addition to the personal stats he accumulated, he captained the 24th ranked Gator to a blowout win over the 8th ranked Wildcats, which gave the Gators the signature win the season had lacked up to that point. This win catapulted the Gators to 17th in the country, and was the point of the season where the college basketball community at large knew the Gators meant business.

 

Canyon Barry

30 Points vs. Auburn

Gators Win 114-95

February 14, 2017

 

Everyone who watched the Gators up to this point knew that Canyon Barry was an elite talent, but it was this offensive explosion that solidified him as the 6th Man of the Year in the SEC. Showcasing his free throws with an 11-12 mark from the charity stripe and going 3-5 from deep, his full skillset was shown.

 

KeVaughn Allen

24 Points vs. Kentucky

Gators Lose 76-66

February 25, 2017

 

After the Gators embarrassed Kentucky in Gainesville for College Game Day earlier in the month, the Wildcats were looking for blood in this one. Despite being the central focus defensively, KeVaughn Allen had an extremely efficient game, going 5-11 from three and 9-17 from the field, while leading the Gators with 33 minutes. Though several other Gators had rough games, Allen keeping Florida in the game was huge as despite the loss, the Gators actually rose from #13 to #12 in the polls after the game.

 

Kevarrius Hayes

6 Steals vs. East Tennessee State

Gators Win 80-65 (NCAA Tournament, Round of 64)

March 16, 2017

 

When John Egbunu went down to a devastating season ending injury, Kevarrius Hayes was given big shoes to fill at the center position. With all the excitement of Mike White’s first NCAA Tournament, and Florida’s entrance into the big dance after missing it the last 2 years, Hayes dominated the defensive end of the floor. Using his length and anticipation, Hayes nabbed 6 steals, setting a Florida NCAA Tournament record.

 

Devin Robinson

Double-Double vs. Virginia

Gators Win 65-39 (NCAA Tournament, Round of 32)

March 18, 2017

 

Without a doubt, Devin Robinson was one of the players who grew the most under the tutelage of the coaching staff. When Florida matched up against one of the best defensive teams in the country in the Virginia Cavaliers, Robinson rose to the occasion. In a team leading 31 minutes, Robinson cashed in 14 points and 11 rebounds, leading the charge in a commanding Florida victory.

 

KeVaughn Allen

35 Points vs. Wisconsin

Gators Win 84-83 (OT) (NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16)

March 24, 2017

 

In one of the best games of the Tournament last year, Florida took on Wisconsin in what was a battle from the opening minute. The Gators best offensive weapon all year, KeVaughn Allen took his game to a new level when they needed him the most. Pouring in 35 points and hitting some huge shots down the stretch, Allen made sure everyone in the nation knew he was one of the best shooting guards. Allen wasn’t the only hero from that game, however…

 

Chris Chiozza

The Buzzer Beater Heard Around the World

Gators Win 84-83 (OT) (NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16)

March 24, 2017

 

On this night Chris Chiozza became a folk hero to Florida fans, and a name not ever to be mentioned to Wisconsin fans. Down 2 with 4 seconds left in overtime, the collective hearts of Florida fans started to sink. As Chris Chiozza took the ball and darted down the floor, there was a glimmer of hope as he found some daylight racing towards the middle of the floor. He saw his chance, gathered his dribble, put up the floater, and then… magic. The visual of Chiozza hanging in the air before shooting will forever be one of the great images of Gators basketball, and will be the first thing many people picture when they think of this campaign.

 

What were some of your favorite individual performances from this past season? Leave a comment or post it in the Gator Country forums.

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Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @Efawcett7.