Fastbreak: Florida upset by Loyola Chicago, embarrassed once again in O’Dome

By Adam Silverstein
December 6, 2017
Fastbreak: Florida upset by Loyola Chicago, embarrassed once again in O’Dome

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (5-3) followed its worst game of head coach Mike White‘s entire tenure on Monday night by playing the exactly the same way on Wednesday when it hosted the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (9-1) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Ramblers took down the Gators 65-59, leading the vast majority of the contest as Florida was once again completely unable to find the bottom of the basket on the evening. One can expect UF to be completely knocked out of the AP Top 25 when it comes out next Monday.

Let’s take a look at Florida’s latest embarrassment in Fastbreak:

It was over when … Senior point guard Chris Chiozza turned a steal into a driving layup with 90 seconds to play, and Loyola-Chicago suffered a scoring drought of nearly four minutes late in the contest as Florida trailed by only two late in the contest. Sophomore guard Kevaughn Allen drove with 21 seconds to play and put the ball high off the glass, but as it rattled around the rim, sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes committed offensive goaltending by touching the ball while it was still in the cylinder. As it looked like the basket was going to fall, Hayes’ miscue negated a potential tie and let the Ramblers maintain their two-point lead, which they built following four straight free throws over the final 16 seconds to close out the upset.

Exceptional efforts: No one.

Disaster strikes: For the second straight game, nearly every Florida player failed. Chiozza went 3-for-7 with nine points, graduate transfer guard Egor Koulechov finished 3-for-13 and hitless from beyond the arc with seven points and nine boards, Allen and redshirt junior G Jalen Hudson each went 3-for-11 for a combined 17 points, and Hayes was truly awful defensively while only making 2-of-6 shots, missing a number of gimmies.

Odds and ends: Florida was unable to put the ball in the basket again, shooting 36.9 percent from the field, 10.5 percent from three (2-of-19) and 64.3 percent from the line … the Gators gave up threes at a 50 percent clip on Wednesday … UF scored 21 points off 15 turnovers but only forced four in the second half … Loyola-Chicago led for 38:10 of the 40-minute game, as Florida only held a lead for 1:33

What it means: After choking away a massive lead against the top team in the country, Florida had a week off to rest and recuperate. Instead, the Gators have seemingly lost their edge. This Florida team became the first in program history to score 100 points four times in a five-game span, but since the Duke loss, UF has scored just 125 points in two games, falling by 17 to Florida State and six to Loyola. Being embarrassed by the Seminoles is one thing considering the talent and defensive ability of FSU, but the Gators should never have been in this spot against the Ramblers despite the fact that they were obviously a worthy adversary. Florida is soft on defense and completely exposed with three of its big men injured as Hayes is completely unable to live up to his responsibility inside.

Up next: It is not going to get any easier for Florida on Saturday when it hits the road to take on No. 17 Cincinnati at 6 p.m. ET in a game that will air live nationally on ESPN2. The Gators will be in danger of losing four straight games since February 2015.


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