Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators bounce back with blow out of Miami

By Adam Silverstein
November 22, 2019
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators bounce back with blow out of Miami
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Coming off a disappointing road loss to UConn that saw them bounced from the AP Top 25 just two weeks after entering the season as the sixth-ranked team in the nation, the Florida Gators have bounced back this week with consecutive wins to open the 2019 Charleston Classic. Florida beat the Miami Hurricanes 78-58 on Friday after besting the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 70-62 on Thursday.

What went right for the Gators over the last couple of days? Let’s take a look at Florida’s recent success — particularly against Miami — with some takeaways from the two games. UF will play in the Charleston Classic final on Sunday against Xavier.

It was over when … the Gators erupted for a 21-2 run over 10 minutes of the second half to send the Canes home beaten up and bruised. The game was over early in the scoring stretch, but it was seemingly endless with Florida getting whatever it wanted, running up and down the court playing the most fluid, consistent basketball it has this season. The version of the Gators that took the court Friday is what everyone expected when they were given a preseason No. 6 ranking. The team was in sync, communicating and making baskets both inside and beyond the arc.

Exceptional efforts: Graduate transfer forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. had a horrible game Thursday; he was ejected early in the second half on a flagrant two and only played five minutes in the first half due to two early fouls. Blackshear had the exact opposite performance on Friday, posting another double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) while shooting 3-of-4 from long range with five assists and just one foul in 35 minutes. Freshman guard Scottie Lewis also had a breakout performance against Miami, posting 13 points and eight boards while seeing additional time on the floor with freshman G Tre Mann unavailable.

Sophomore F Keyontae Johnson combined for 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting, hitting 3-of-7 threes and adding 19 rebounds over the two games; he had a double-double against Saint Joseph’s. Sophomore point guard Andrew Nembhard posted 16 points and six rebounds on Thursday, while freshman G Ques Glover scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting on Friday.

Odds and ends: Florida outscored Miami 40-25 in the second half and had runs of 20-2 and 21-2 in the game … UF led Saint Joseph’s by as many as 18 but struggled to maintain its lead until late on Thursday … Florida had a season-high 18 assists vs. Miami … the Gators never trailed the Hawks and led the Canes nearly the entire game; in total, they held the lead for 74:12 and only trailed for 3:28 over their last 80 minutes … Florida is now 47-24 all-time against Miami, 2-1 under head coach Mike White and 3-1 at neutral sites

What it means: It’s always tough to judge college basketball programs — particularly filled with freshmen — early in a season, but the Gators looked relatively awful through their first four games. There’s no two ways about that. Whatever White said to them over the last week has apparently hit home, because Florida basketball has looked like the team we expected it to over the last two games in Charleston. Florida has hit 17-of-41 threes, dished 27 assists on 47 baskets and done a great job rebounding, all while being short-handed. If the Gators can pick up one more victory on Saturday, this tournament will serve as a nice refresher — and potential season-changer — for a team that appeared to be rudderless.

What’s next? Florida will face No. 18 Xavier, which beat UConn 75-74 in double overtime, in the finals of the Charleston Classic on Sunday night. The game against an undefeated ranked opponent presents a great opportunity for a Gators team that has been rolling in this tournament.

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