Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators roast Ohio with extra preparation time before key stretch

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 15, 2022
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators roast Ohio with extra preparation time before key stretch

Image Credit: UAA

If there’s one trait the Florida Gators have proven to possess in spades in Year 1 under head coach Todd Golden, it’s the ability to blowout lower-level opponents. Florida destroyed the Ohio Bobcats on Wednesday night with an 82-48 win in Tampa at the 2022 Victorinox Tampa Tip-Off.

Strange one-off game aside, the Gators eviscerated the Bobcats with a 42-18 edge in the first half and went on relative cruise control over the final 20 minutes. Four Florida players scored in double digits and 14 players touched the court for at least a few seconds.

Let’s take a quick look at what went right for the Gators with Fastbreak Takeaways.

It was over when … the first half buzzer sounded. Florida’s 42-18 lead came as Ohio went 0 of 7 from downtown and shot just 22.2% from the field while committing 13 fouls and six turnovers. Guards redshirt senior Kyle Lofton and sophomore Kowacie Reeves combined for 22 points on 3 of 5 shooting from long range with Reeves grabbing five boards in 8 minutes off the bench.

Exceptional efforts: Reeves finished with a game-high 20 points while making 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range and 3 of 4 inside the arc with six boards in 18 minutes. Lofton posted 15 points and seven assists, while sophomore forward Alex Fudge completed his second double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior G Trey Bonham was the other player in double figures with 12 points on 2 of 3 shooting beyond the arc.

Riding the struggle bus: Whatever’s up with redshirt senior F Colin Castleton is showing no signs of changing. Castleton posted six points, going 3 of 8 from the field, with eight boards in 27 minutes. He also missed both his free throw attempts. After starting the season with 25+ points in three of his first four games while shooting 55.1%, Castleton has averaged 9.4 points over his last seven games while scoring at a 40.6% clip. It’s a massive downturn for a player who entered the season with aspirations of being a first-round pick in the forthcoming NBA Draft as Castleton continues what is clearly the worst stretch of his college career.

Odds and ends: Florida led for the entire game and never trailed … the Gators dominated the Bobcats inside both in scoring (32-18) and rebounding (39-26) … UF had 14 assists on 28 baskets, one of its best ratios of the season … Florida improved to 3-1 all-time against Ohio in the programs’ first meeting since the 2005 NCAA Tournament … the Gators are now 5-2 all-time against MAC opponents with five straight victories since 1978 … this marked the fourth different starting lineup Golden has used through 11 games … Florida is 6-0 when leading at half, 7-1 when outrebounding an opponent, 6-0 when shooting better than 45% from the field and 5-1 when shooting better than 40% from 3-point range this season

What it means / what’s next? This was a game the Gators were expected to win handily, and that’s exactly what they did. So in that respect: mission accomplished. But defeating teams like Ohio has not been an issue for Florida this season. All seven of its wins this season are against teams rated 138th (Florida State) or worse in KenPom. All four of its losses are to teams rated 49th (FAU) or better. In other words, the Gators are playing like a team nowhere near NCAA Tournament contention.

Florida gets a chance to alter its momentum with its penultimate regular-season game against nonconference competition as it now gets six days to prepare for a neutral-site battle with Oklahoma at the 2022 Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET next Tuesday and air live nationally on ESPN2. The Gators will then begin SEC play at Auburn eight days after that, meaning UF will have a week of extended preparation for each of its next two opponents, both of which are among the top 35 teams in KenPom. Winning one or both of those games would be boost for Florida. Losing both and falling to 7-6 would effectively end its NCAA Tournament aspirations barring a monumental turnaround battling some of the best teams in the nation as SEC play kicks into gear.

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