The Florida Gators basketball team (6-2 ) just could not escape the Miami Hurricanes (8-1) on Tuesday night, falling 55-66 in Coral Gables, Florida.
Miami took the game from the get-go with a shot from downtown less than 20 seconds into the first half quickly followed by a jumper putting the Canes up 5-0. A pair of jumpers by sophomore forward Devin Robinson and redshirt sophomore center John Egbunu followed by an Egbunu slam shifted gears to put the Gators in the lead and in the game at 6-5 with 18:35 left in the first.
Over the next four minutes Miami’s offense blew over Florida’s defense and held a 7-point Hurricane lead by the 14:10 mark of the first. The tables seemed to turn in the Gators favor after the beast of a basketball player known as Tonye Jekiri hobbled off the court to the locker room with over five minutes left in the half.
Capitalizing on the opportunity of a hard defensive player being off the court, D-Rob showcased his athleticism with a baseline drive ending with a dunk and a foul allowing him to turn it into a 3-point play. By 4:08 the Gators had trimmed down the Canes lead to a mere three points.
The rest of the half the Gators worked to get back in the lead before hitting the locker room, but came up short. Miami went on an 8-0 run to end the half up by 9 with the Canes leading the Gators 33-24 at half.
In the second half of the game Florida continued to struggle against Miami’s strong offensive play. The Canes went 7-17 in shots from behind the arc while the Gators only made 1 of their twelve attempts.
Jekiri returned a few minutes into the second half to ovation, not giving the Gators much time to capitalize off of his absence. However, just seconds after he subbed back in Kasey Hill made a three point play, but it still left Florida down by 9 points.
For the remainder of the game the Gators tried to narrow the Canes lead, but the closest they could get was within 5 points after a layup by Bradone Francis-Ramirez with 9:43 left in the game.
From there, Florida just could not close the gap on Miami and ended the game with an 11-point loss to the No. 17 ranked team.
The Gators will have some time off once again until they travel to East Lansing to take on the number one team in the country, the undefeated Michigan State Spartans on Saturday. The game tips at 6pm on ESPN2.
Stats of the game:
-Three players in double-digits: Egbunu (14), Finney-Smith (12), Robinson (11)
-Both Florida point guards fouled out of the game
-The Gators had four fewer turnovers than the Hurricanes (10-14)
-Both teams had a shooting percentage of 39% from the field