Florida basketball score, takeaways: No. 15 Gators barely survive Towson

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2019
Florida basketball score, takeaways: No. 15 Gators barely survive Towson

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Another nonconference home game, another contest filled with tough sledding for the No. 15 Florida Gators. After being upset in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center last Sunday by Florida State, there’s no doubt that Florida came out flat Thursday night against the Towson Tigers. This time, however, the Gators (2-1) prevailed 66-60 over the visiting Tigers, which entered as 17-point underdogs and are now 0-32 all-time against AP Top 25 teams.

What went down Thursday night in the O’Dome? Let’s take look at how Florida basketball survived a strong effort on its home court with our Fastbreak takeaways.

It was over when … Tigers guard Brian Fobbs used his team’s last two possessions to chuck hero threes in an attempt to steal the game. Neither shot was good, and the Gators responded by making four straight free throws to ice the game in its final seconds. Florida took the lead for good on a tough layup from graduate transfer forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. with 1:05 to play and ended the contest on a 6-0 run.

UF and Towson were tied 30-30 at the half after the hosts used a 7-0 run to answer the visitors’ 11-0 scoring stretch. There were more than a dozen lead changes in the game with the Tigers up 56-55 late in the contest and the game tied at 60 with 1:41 left. 

Exceptional efforts: Freshman point guard Scottie Lewis was tremendous in the second half, hitting 4-of-5 shots and 2-of-3 three-pointers for 13 points; he only scored two in the first half for a game-high 15 points with three rebounds. That complemented an inefficient effort from Blackshear, who only hit 4-of-14 field goals and went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. Still, he finished with 13 points and 13 boards, hitting 5-of-6 free throws.

Odds and ends: Sophomore PG Andrew Nembhard finished with 11 points, hit some clutch late free throws and totaled nine assists, but he committed three lazy, costly turnovers at key points in the game … freshman F Omar Payne scored eight clutch points on 4-of-4 shooting … sophomore F Keyontae Johnson hit 2-of-4 threes for eight points … UF shot just 13-of-20 from the charity stripe with Blackshear/Lewis going 9-of-10 and the rest of the team going 4-of-10 … Towson outrebounded the hosts 32-30 (27-21 on defense) and had more bench scoring (15-13) … the Gators dominated paint scoring (28-16) and scored 17 points off 13 Tigers turnovers

What it means: Florida does not look good. After getting routed at home by Florida State (again), it struggled with a far less talented Towson team that seemed to get whatever it wanted offensively until head coach Mike White switched to the 1-3-1 late in the game. Even after a couple tough possessions, the Tigers eventually broke that for a wide-open corner three that tied the contest late. The Gators have arguably the most difficult nonconference schedule in the nation this season, and the preseason No. 6 team in the nation was supposed to be 3-0 with relative ease heading into a tough road game. Instead, Florida has struggled to 2-1.

“They played well enough to come in here and steal one,” White said.

What’s next? Florida will travel to face UConn in Stoors, Connecticut, on Sunday afternoon. The Gators and Huskies will tip off at 3 p.m. ET in a game that will air live on ESPN.

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