The Gators kept it interesting by letting a 17 point lead leak away and turn into a 5 point lead in the final minutes but ultimately they were able to hold on for a 70-63 win over the Georgia Bulldogs. This game was far from a masterpiece as both teams struggled to get open looks and hit those shots when the opportunities came, and a combined 32 turnovers spoke to the lack of execution as well. Colin Castleton led the way in the points column with 14 while also contributing 7 rebounds and, of course, 3 huge blocks.
Florida was able to come away with the win but they didn’t look smooth at all in doing so, particularly when it came to handling the ball. They had 20 turnovers, and most of them were inexcusable. Tyree Appleby (5 TO) was getting the ball ripped away from with regularity when driving to the hoop, Scottie Lewis (4 TO) made poor decisions that got himself in trouble and Colin Castleton (4 TO) got swarmed by defenders when the Gators insisted on posting him up far from the hoop giving Georgia plenty of opportunities to double team. Georgia is in the basement of the SEC and lacks high end talent so the Gators were able to get away with 20 turnovers this time around but that kind of looseness with the basketball will get them beat more times than not.
Noah Locke joined some elite company hitting his 200th three as a Gator. He becomes the 9th player in program history to do so, and considering he might be around Gainesville for a few more years he could climb to the top of the list for most threes made. While he hit the monumental three, there are definitely some shots he would like back. There were some wide open looks that spilled out, and his 3-10 from behind the arc easily could have been 5-10 or 6-10. Since the shutdown due to COVID protocol Locke hasn’t quite gotten his rhythm back and the Gators could certainly use his floor spacing.
This was a difficult game for Scottie Lewis who, in front of a few NBA scouts that were in attendance for this one, shot 1-6 from the field and finished with 4 turnovers. Lewis has had a tough go of things recently on both ends of the floor and unfortunately we saw that play out against Georgia. Offensively he seemed constantly searching but not sure where to go, something that led to some infuriating turnovers. Defensively he was also gashed repeatedly by Georgia’s perimeter scorers, such as Sahvir Wheeler who finished with 27 points. Florida giving up career nights to scorers on the other team has become an unfortunate trend and the player on the bad side of those defensive trends sadly has been Lewis in a lot of circumstances. He is still a leader on the team and everyone is desperate for him to have success so here’s hoping he bounces back next game.
Florida got a boost from a bit of an unexpected source in Ques Glover who played excellent off the bench. His 11 points were among the leaders for the Gators which you love to see, but where he was really impactful was on the defensive end. He was one of the few players who was able to bother Sahvir Wheeler, using his quick feet to slide laterally with the talented Bulldog scorer. It’s been tough for Glover to get minutes behind Tre Mann, Tyree Appleby, and Noah Locke but if he keeps playing like this Mike White will have no choice but to give him some run.
If you’re in the “a win is a win crowd” then well, you can be happy because the Gators came out victorious. However, if you don’t share the mindset, you’re going to be disappointed in Florida’s dismal offensive effort against a team that isn’t particularly good offensively. This is the third game in a row where the Gators have struggled offensively, a very concerning trend they’ll need to correct quickly since we’re in the home stretch of the season. Florida is an offense-first team, and right now their offense is failing them.