The Florida Gators dropped to 15-7 (5-4 SEC) after suffering a heartbreaking 67-66 loss to Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday evening.
Gator Country provides you with five early takeaways from the game.
Lack of aggression in the second half
Florida played a pretty good first half outside of seven turnovers, connecting on 14-27 (51.9%) of their shots from the field and 7-16 (43.8%) from three-point range. The Gators led the Aggies 40-34 at halftime.
The Gators entered Saturday’s contest ranked 23rd in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom. Florida’s average possession length is 15.7 seconds, which you would not know by watching the second half. Todd Golden’s squad didn’t create many good looks in the second half due to a lack of aggression, often times launching up poor shots with just a few seconds left on the shot clock.
Florida jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first two minutes of the second half, but their conservative play allowed the Aggies to climb back into this game.
The Gators posted just 26 points in the second half on 37.9% shooting from the field and 23.1% from three-point range. Florida recorded just two free throw attempts in the second half, another indicator of a lack of aggression.
Florida’s transition offense, which is their strength, was nonexistent in the second half.
This has been a reoccurring theme when Florida gains big leads; it’s something Todd Golden and the Gators’ staff will need to address moving forward.
Turnovers proved costly
Florida turned the ball over 14 times vs Texas A&M, seven in each half. We’ve seen higher turnover numbers this season, but in a close SEC game on the road, you can’t lose the turnover margin 14-8. Florida’s lack of aggression in the second half didn’t limit the turnovers like it might be designed to do as they coughed in up seven times in the final 20 minutes.
Todd Golden recognizes that he’s going to have to live with turnovers due to his fast-paced offense, but if you can’t slow it down and still turn it over like Florida did on Saturday night.
Alex Condon improves every game
Forward Alex Condon was a great addition to Florida’s freshman class and seemingly gets better every game. Condon only recorded three points in the contest but was a menace around the rim, blocking five shots against TAMU while also recording 11 rebounds.
Condon is also visibly improving as a passer; a quality Todd Golden wants out of his big men.
Tyrese Samuel needed to be more involved
Tyrese Samuel has been one of Florida’s better players this season and was coming off a 22 point, 13 rebound, and 4 block performance vs Kentucky. Samuel took just five shots against the Aggies and made three of them.
Kugel settling into his new role
Riley Kugel had a fantastic first half for the Gators, logging 10 points while making three of his four three-point attempts. Kugel wasn’t a big factor in the second half (neither were most of Florida’s players) but finished the game with 12 points on 4-8 shooting, five rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
Kugel is now shooting 44.8% from three-point range in conference play. It seems as if he’s simplified his game and it’s resulting in more production and better decision making.