Florida’s Offense Tanks In 55-50 Loss To TCU

A second half surge from the Gators made this a tight basketball game but ultimately the 16-point lead they spotted the TCU Horned Frogs in the first half and some mental lapses in execution down the stretch allowed TCU to win at home by a score of 55-50. After only scoring 20 points in the first half and trailing by 12 this game looked like it could have been a blowout loss for the Gators but an inspired stretch of play for the first 7 minutes of the second half brought the game back to a tie, but unfortunately some bad misses on ill-advised shots, many of which came off the hands of redshirt-senior Jalen Hudson, allowed TCU to take a lead the Gators couldn’t come back from. Florida showed a lot of gumption by fighting back into this game and making the score look much closer than this contest really was but there were just too many errors that kept them from closing this one out.

Response Game

After hitting 18 threes against Texas A&M, 15 of which came from KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke, the Gators struggled from behind the arc against a TCU team that is one of the best in the country at defending the long ball. Going 8-27 from three (30%) wasn’t terrible, but without any consistent offense going towards the rim they were going to need to hit them at a higher clip if they were going to win today. Locke (1-6), and Allen (2-9) definitely cooled off after the Texas A&M performance while Andrew Nembhard (2-4) and Keyontae Johnson (1-1) hit a few efficiently. This is a team that’s going to need to hit double digit threes to win games and they fell short of that which lead to defeat.

Jalen Hudson

This season has not gone at all how we would have expected for Jalen Hudson and tonight was a culmination of a whole lot of his struggles. He got burned off the dribble by multiple Horned Frogs (committing fouls in a few instances while also giving up buckets), missed a layup at the rim, and most noticeably took some terrible shots in the second half that cratered the Gators’ chance at a comeback. With the game coming down to the wire the Gators had a 4-on-3 advantage that turned into a Hudson 1-on-3 floater at the rim and instead lead to a transition three for TCU (a big 5-point swing) and with the Gators needing a key bucket a few possessions later he stared down his defender, then the rim, and pulled up a three that landed 6 feet to the left of the backboard out of bounds. Going 2-10 tonight he is shooting below 30% from the field on the season and isn’t providing value on the defensive end either. I really hope he can turn things around but it’s getting awfully late in the season and a solid sample size is showing that he’s not contributing to winning right now.

Game Of Runs

This game had some wild runs with the Gators only scoring a single field goal in the first 11 minutes of the game and then them holding TCU to 2 points in the first 6 minutes of the second before the Horned Frogs then went on a streak of their own. What caused these runs? It doesn’t coincide exactly, but Keyontae Johnson having to go to the bench because of foul trouble early in the first and second halves started runs in TCU’s favor and when he got back on the floor the Gators went on streaks of their own. He’s playing winning basketball right now and the Gators are far better when he’s on the floor. With 9 points and 8 rebounds tonight he’s been putting up some numbers and the full extent of his play doesn’t even show up on the stat sheet. His play has been a revolution for this team.

Gator Of The Game

We saw excellent basketball from Kevarrius Hayes, a player who is stringing together some wonderful basketball as of late. He finished with 8 points, 5 blocks, and 2 steals and it seemed like every one of those blocks took certain points off the board for TCU. We even saw him get a straight line drive for a layup, an offensive play he’s never really executed. He was extremely impactful and I think he’s a major reason this game never got ugly and instead stayed close.

Final Thoughts

The Gators deserved to get absolutely blown out with the way they played today and I think they should be lucky the score was close. There were simply too many bad stretches of offense that ended in bad shots. Rebounding also played a role as TCU was +15 on the glass, but it was the errant shots heaved by the Gators in big possessions that kept them from stealing a game against what I think is a really good TCU squad. Once again a big resume win opportunity slips from the hands of the Gators and they’ll be back to the drawing board for a tough stretch of SEC games.