Florida basketball tops Lynn 89-71 in exhibition as Gators look to improve on both ends

By Adam Silverstein
October 30, 2019
Florida basketball tops Lynn 89-71 in exhibition as Gators look to improve on both ends

Image Credit: Tim Casey/UAA

No. 6 Florida Gators basketball took the court Tuesday night for the first — well, second, if you count the secret scrimmage — time this season in a 89-71 win over visiting Lynn Fighting Knights. While the victory was not unexpected, it gave head coach Mike White his best look yet at how his team will play in game and surely provided him with insights into potential rotations moving forward.

Graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, hitting 2-of-4 threes, though he did turn the ball over three times. Sophomore point guard Andrew Nembhard, recovered from a minor offseason injury, posted a team-high 17 points while drilling 4-of-8 triples and led the team with six assists.

Most impressive on the court was actualy Lynn’s Jordan Allen, who seeminly made every shot he took and finished with a stunning 35 points on 9-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc with four steals. A transfer from Rider, Allen was fantastic in the game and proved he will be back on the Division I level soon enough.

The Gators led 49-29 at halftime, but with White subbing in more bench players to gain minutes and experience in the latter period, were outscored 42-40 down the stretch. That bench rotation will shorten massively as the season progresses, and White said in postgame comments that he was not thrilled with the team’s defensive effort.

“We need to be better,” Blackshear said, per the team’s website. “We want to be elite on both ends of the floor. It’s a learning curve for all of us. We have a lot of new guys — me included — but I think we’re going to get there and keep getting better ’cause we want to get better.”

What was obvious on Tuesday night is how deep UF’s roster has become. Six players scored 9+ points and all but one hit more than 50 percent of their shots. Freshman F Omar Payne used his 6-foot-10 frame to grab seven boards and hit all four of his attempts in 19 minutes. Freshman PG Scottie Lewis saw 26 minutes of action but scored just five points and only dished one dime while coughing the ball up four times. He did, however, have five rebounds and three blocks.

Florida opens the 2019-20 regular season next Tuesday when it hosts North Florida, which it is 8-0 against all-time. There is a major step up in competition five days later when UF hosts Florida State on Sunday, Nov. 10.

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