The Florida Gators may have needed the 10-day break between games they received. It certainly showed in the final score with the Gators (7-3) beating the Providence Friars (6-6) 83-51.
The 83 points were a season high and the 51 allowed were a season low. The Gators accomplished that despite a
Mike White’s hand was forced in the first half. With the referees calling a tight game the Gators and Friars combined for 27 fouls in the first half, including two on Kerry Blackshear that forced the Gators to go with a smaller lineup. It changed the way Florida played offensively and defensively, but it worked.
The Gators’ ball movement was much better for longer stretches. The Gators played a 3-2 zone defense, one it hasn’t implemented much this year, and kept Providence to a 17.9% (5/28) shooting mark in the first half.
It was also a coming out party for Tre Mann. The uber-talented playmaker has come on slowly to start his college career. He was the first man off the bench for the Gators and poured in six points and a rebound during his first 14 minutes off the bench, including this tough finish at the rim.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) December 18, 2019
The freshmen trio of Tre Mann, Scottie Lewis and Ques Glover combined for 30 points on the night. Sophomore Keyontae Johnson also gets the game ball with his 19 point, 10 rebound double-double.
Locke in particular has turned his early shooting woes around. The sophomore, who is considered by White as the second best shooter on the team, has been shooting hot from beyond the arc, connecting on 43% (18-42) of his three-balls over the last seven games.
This was also the game fans have been waiting to see from Mann. The Alachua County native was assertive, he attacked the rim and he played with intensity on the defensive end. He finished with 13 points on 4-8 shooting. Mann has been lauded by White and other members of the coaching staff as the best offensive player on the team and Tuesday night was a glimpse into what they see on a daily basis in practice.
The Gators have a few days off before heading to the Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday to take on Utah State in the Orange Bowl Classic.
The Gators have won five of their last six games with this, arguably, their most impressive performance of the season — fouls aside.