Florida basketball score, takeaways: FAU takes advantage of Gators’ listless defense in upset

By OnlyGators.com Staff
November 14, 2022
Florida basketball score, takeaways: FAU takes advantage of Gators’ listless defense in upset

Image Credit: UAA

Florida Gators basketball took its first hit under new head coach Todd Golden with a rough defensive performance in a 76-74 upset loss to the FAU Owls at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators dropped their first game to the Owls in series history, and in doing so, fell to former assistant coach Dusty May, who now leads the Boca Raton-based program.

Listless defensively in the first half, Florida looked to have turned things around early coming out of the break when it jumped ahead 10 points. However, FAU put together a shocking scoring run in which it outpaced UF 5-to-1 over a period of nearly 10 minutes to go up 14. Though the Gators did fight back over the game’s final stretch, they could not do enough to tie the game or take the lead late.

Let’s take a look at what went down Monday night with Fastbreak Takeaways.

It was over when … FAU ran out the final seconds of the game, keeping the ball away from a Florida team trying to foul after sophomore guard Will Richard made a 3-pointer to reach the final score.

The Gators looked ready to put the game away early in the second half, using an 11-2 run with six straight points from redshirt senior forward Colin Castleton to lead 48-39. However, the Owls immediately answered and looked set to run their hosts out of the building with an extended 30-6 scoring stretch that ended with an 11-0 run to flip the lead to 71-57 for the visitors with 4:48 to play.

Consecutive corner 3s by sophomore G Kowacie Reeves were part of a 14-3 run that cut Florida’s deficit to three with 50 seconds left. Aiding UF was a timeout FAU called in its own backcourt, resulting in a technical foul and two free throws. However, coming out of a turnover, Gators senior G Myreon Jones missed a triple, and Owls G Michael Forrest made two free throws that became the game’s ending margin.

First half focus: Florida had its worst 30-minute stretch of the season in the opening frame, shooting just 31% from the field while allowing FAU to make 8 of 13 triples. Though the Gators ended the half on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 35, they were wholly inefficient offensively and even worse defensively on the perimeter. A paradigm of that was Castleton, who paced UF with 12 points despite hitting just 3 of 12 shots to open the game. Castleton did reach a career milestone in the first half, however, as he drained the first 3-pointer of his career; he was 0 for 18 previously at Michigan and Florida, including 0 for 9 last season alone

Exceptional efforts: Castleton posted his first double-double of the season with 30 points and 12 rebounds, but a 11 of 25 effort — given most of his shots were around the rim — made feeding him the ball a wholly inefficient exercise. Still, he has scored a combined 63 points in the last two games, which is impressive no matter how you slice it. Richard and redshirt senior G Kyle Lofton had mirror games with each posting 14 points on 2 of 3 shooting from long range with seven boards; however, Lofton also added six assists. Reeves made 3 of 5 triples for 11 points. Those were the only four players who contributed in any meaningful way to the game’s offensive total as the rest of the team went 2 for 12 from the field.

Odds and ends: Florida dropped its first game all-time to FAU, now holding a 3-1 record … the Gators dropped to 21-6 against Conference USA opponents … Castleton became the third transfer in program history to score 800 points at UF (Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Hudson) … FAU made 54.2% of its 3s, including 8 of 13 in the first half and 5 of 11 in the second half … the Owls outgained the Gators 34-5 off the bench and 21-8 on the fastbreak … there were six ties and nine lead changes with FAU holding the lead for just 24 seconds longer than UF

What it means: Nothing good. Florida is bound to experience some hiccups early in its first season under a new coach, but the defensive effort has now lacked for three straight games, and the Gators were notably poor contesting shots on the perimeter throughout the contest. The Owls were faster, tougher and hungrier in this game. Florida had an opportunity to go 3-0 on a homestand to start the season and instead lost a game the same day it began receiving AP Top 25 votes (sound familiar?). UF will have a huge chance to rebound over its next four games through the forthcoming two weeks. But there’s simply no way to put this performance in a positive light.

What’s next? Florida will face its first power conference opponent of this season this Friday when it visits Florida State for an 8 p.m. ET tipoff on ACC Network. Next week, the Gators will compete in the Phil Night Legacy where they open against Xavier before facing some combination of Duke or Oregon State and then Gonzaga, Purdue, West Virginia or Portland State. All games will be played in Portland.

Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux