Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators blowout Providence in bounce-back win

By Adam Silverstein
December 17, 2019
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators blowout Providence in bounce-back win

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Hopefully, Billy Donovan was not watching. The Florida Gators on Tuesday night mopped the floor with Billy D’s alma mater, thrashing the Providence Friars 83-51 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The neutral-site game, sponsored by the Naismith Hall of Fame, was Florida’s first in over a week as the team hoped to bounce back from an upsetting 76-62 loss at Butler on Dec. 7.

After a slow start, the Gators (7-3) dominated the final 30 minutes of the game, never seeing their lead dip below 16 points after the half. So what went down on Tuesday night in Brooklyn? Let’s look at some takeaways from the win.

It was over when … freshman guard Tre Mann hit a three-pointer to put the Gators up 53-32 with 12:08 to play. The Friars battled over the first few minutes of the second half, but Mann ensured that Florida would not suffer a let down as it has with large leads in many games this season. The Gators ended the first half on a 25-12 scoring stretch over 11:27, taking a 15-point lead into halftime that it never relinquished.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson was his old dominant self, posting a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes for the game. He was joined by freshman point guard Ques Glover, who did not manufacture a gaudy line (10 points, two boards) but seemed to be all over the court making timely plays off the bench. Mann finished second on the team with 13 points, and sophomore G Noah Locke was 3-for-4 from downtown with 11 points.

Odds and ends: Redshirt senior F Kerry Blackshear Jr. managed just seven points in 17 minutes as he once again got in foul trouble early in the game … Florid and Providence combined for 46 fouls, including 15 in the first 7+ minutes of the game … the Gators had 15 assists on 29 baskets and only 10 turnovers … it’s just the fifth time this season that Florida had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (4-1) … UF never trailed, leading for 39 minutes … Florida improved to 5-0 all-time against Providence

What it means: It would be nice to call the Gators fixed for good after seeing this performance in their first game following 10 days of rest, but the truth is that this is a .500 Friars team that they dominated. Still, Florida scored a season-high 83 points and allowed a season-low 51. There’s something to be said for that coming off an extremely disappointing showing in which UF was routed by 14 in a road game at Butler. Perhaps that was rock bottom for this team and Tuesday night’s win is the beginning of a paradigm shift for this 2019-20 season.

What’s next? Florida will face Utah State on Saturday afternoon in the 2019 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic before closing the season against Long Beach, its last game of the year and penultimate nonconference opponent until the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The Gators open their SEC slate on Jan. 4, 2020.

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