Florida vs. Oklahoma score, takeaways: Gators’ worst start since 2014-15 after Jumpman Invitational loss

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 21, 2022
Florida vs. Oklahoma score, takeaways: Gators’ worst start since 2014-15 after Jumpman Invitational loss

Image Credit: UAA

A losing season is looking more and more like a reality for Florida Gators basketball, which is now off to its worst start since 2014-15 after falling 62-53 to the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2022 Jumpman Invitational. Despite leading by double digits in the first half, an abysmal offensive performance doomed the Gators over the game’s final 25 minutes.

It was in Billy Donovan’s final season at the helm that Florida suffered its last losing campaign. However, that team had been decimated by roster departures with a coach ready to depart for the NBA, while this one is filled with transfers brought in by first-year head coach Todd Golden.

Florida scored its fewest points all year while shooting a horrific 20 of 61 from the field (.328) and 2 of 22 from 3-point range (.091), the latter a season-low mark. Two players scored 68% of the Gators’ points with nearly one third of those coming from the free throw line where UF was at least an efficient 11 of 14 (.786).

What went wrong at the Jumpman Invitational? Keep on reading for some Fastbreak Takeaways.

It was over when … Oklahoma made consecutive baskets to lead by seven with 1:31 to play. Florida did hold a lead in the second half but trailed for the final 12:39 following a 3-pointer from OU guard Grant Sherfield, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

The Sooners went on an extended 18-6 scoring stretch through halftime, erasing a Gators advantage that lasted nearly the entire opening period. After keeping Oklahoma at bay to start the game, Florida allowed OU to drain 5 of 11 triples in the second half as UF went 0 of 9 from downtown. Given both teams were inefficient offensively, that differential was enough to give the Sooners the game.

First half focus: Florida led by as many as 11 in the period but fell all over itself down the stretch, getting outscored 10-2 while making just 2 of 16 field goals to lead by a pair entering the break. The Gators shot just 11 of 33 from the floor and 2 of 13 from downtown in the opening 20 minutes with only one player who attempted 3+ shots hitting half of those tries. Still, the Gators led for 19:05 of the period.

Exceptional efforts: It was redshirt senior forward Colin Castleton and junior guard Trey Bonham that combined for 36 points or 68% of the team’s scoring. Castleton posted 22 on 8 of 15 shooting with eight boards, a major bounce-back effort from Florida’s leader, who had struggled in the prior seven games. Bonham scored 14 on 4 of 9 shooting, making all five of his free throws and adding three boards. Those two combined to make 12 of 26 baskets (.462); the rest of the team went 8 of 35 (.229) with just 17 points combined.

Odds and ends: Florida is 0-5 against Quadrant I and II opponents this season … this was the Gators’ first loss when leading at halftime (6-1) … Florida is now 0-4 when scoring fewer than 75 points, 0-5 when trailing with 5:00 left, 0-4 when being outrebounded and 2-5 following victories … the Gators are now 2-3 all-time against the Sooners and 26-21 against Big 12 opponents (0-2 under Golden)

What it means: This is a dreadful offensive team, and an undisciplined one at that. Florida’s two spark players, sophomores G Kowacie Reeves and F Alex Fudge, combined for five points (all Reeves) on 2 of 12 shooting with 12 rebounds (six each) and nine fouls. Beyond them, though, no one other than Castleton and Bonham was a legitimate contributor. Redshirt senior Myreon Jones (0/2) continues to flounder, and it’s time to wonder whether the 8 minutes he received was even worthwhile court time. Guards sophomore Will Richard and redshirt senior Kyle Lofton, who each have put together notable performances this season (especially Richard), combined to go 4 of 19 from the field and 0 of 7 from downtown with eight points and eight boards.

The Gators frequently seem to not even have an offensive plan. They are slow getting up court, making every possession 5-on-5. They don’t rotate the ball frequently enough; assist totals have been obscenely low all season. Their shot selection is head-scratching with many feeling forced early in the shot clock. It stands to wonder what exactly is being practiced on a weekly basis, which is an indictment purely on Golden at this point.

Worst of all, while this was certainly the team’s worst effort of the season, it was not an aberration. It was the third game in which Florida has failed to score 60 points. Let’s not forget: The Gators had six days to prepare having not played since last Wednesday, which was its only game in the prior 13 days.

What’s next? The battles get even tougher as the SEC slate begins. Florida opens at No. 23 Auburn on Wednesday. The game tips at 7 p.m. ET and will air live nationally on ESPN2.

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