In what was undoubtedly the most embarrassing defeat of the Mike White era to this point the Gators fell to the Seminoles 81-60, bullied on both sides of the floor by what was a tougher and more physical team that also was much crisper when it came to offensive execution. PJ Savoy was the most dangerous Seminole on Tuesday with 20 points getting to the rim at will and knocking down jumpers when the opportunity arose. Florida’s high point man was Deaundrae Ballard who finished the night with 13. The Gators now get to regroup before taking on Charleston Southern on Friday.
Senior Skip Day
Though the team looked pretty young at times and made a look of inexperienced mistakes it was the veterans that really didn’t come to play. KeVaughn Allen held a donut with 0 points while Keith Stone only contributed 3 while turning the ball over 5 times. Jalen Hudson had 11, but it required him to get some points in garbage time to reach double digits. If the Gators are going to reach their potential this year they’re going to need the veterans to lead the way and not be absent.
We got to see four new Gators tonight as Andrew Nembhard, Keyontae Johnson, Noah Locke, and Isaiah Stokes got their first action. This was about as tough as a situation as you could have for your first game on the road against a great opponent and despite some rookie mistakes we saw some good from this group. Nembhard’s three-point shooting was nice as he went 2-4, Locke stayed really engaged defensively, Johnson was able to get to the hoop with his athleticism, and Stokes showed signs of being the big you can throw the ball into that the Gators haven’t had in some time. They took their lumps with some missed defensive rotations, blown layups, and head-scratching turnovers, but there was some good there and they got a lot of minutes with the game being out of hand at the end.
Gak looks like he’ll be out until after the Bahamas and Chase Johnson’s whiplash suffered in an exhibition leaves him without any distinct timeline though there was some optimism that he would play in the opener. Both could have been contributors if healthy and their return will be welcome, whenever it may be.
Shooting 35.4% from the field and 28.3% from three while turning the ball over 16 times the Gators were frustrated all night. Florida State’s ability to pressure on the perimeter and make running offense difficult never allowed the Gators space to breathe and Florida never got into a rhythm at any point. The Seminole’s ability to bottle up Allen, Stone, and Hudson to start the game neutralized the Gators’ biggest weapons and by doing so controlled the game.
Well, the Gators didn’t score well tonight and didn’t defend either. They will need to find a way for their best offensive players to be their best offensive selves and find a way to keep the ball out of the paint defensively.
What I think people do need to remember is that Florida State is an Elite Eight team that returned most of their pieces. The Gators didn’t lay an egg against some awful opponent, they did it against a team that will be at the top of one of the best leagues in the country. I know I probably sound soft in trying to defend the Gators right now, but getting stymied by what will likely be a top-10 or top-15 defense in the country isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Then again, it still doesn’t feel good.