Florida basketball is beginning to discover a groove beneath first-year coach Todd Golden.
The Gators (10-7, 3-2 SEC) are on their first three-game profitable streak of the season, rallying from an 11-point deficit early to beat Missouri 73-64 earlier than asserting the 9,301 on the O’Connell Middle.
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“It is nice to have the ability to belief it,” Florida heart Colin Castleton mentioned. “We’re at .500. All of us got here collectively and mentioned we have got to determine what we have got to do to get it executed, profitable video games is the most important factor. We have (misplaced) a pair shut ones and we won’t get those again. We will solely get those that got here earlier than us and that is our purpose, that is our focus. We gained two good ones.”
Sophomore guard Will Richard scored a season-high 18 factors for Florida, making 4 of 8 from 3-point vary. However, Castleton posted one other strong all-around ground recreation with 16 factors, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. Castleton surpassed 1,000 factors for his Florida profession, becoming a member of Dorian Finney-Smith because the second switch participant in Florida historical past to perform the feat.
The Gators earned their first win in opposition to a ranked group beneath Golden and first win in opposition to a ranked opponent since knocking off No. 2 Auburn 63-62 on February 19, 2022.
Florida shot 47.1% from the ground and 43.5% (10-23) from 3-point vary.
“There have been a number of video games early on that we misplaced the place plenty of issues seemed good however we did not make pictures,” Golden mentioned. “Right now guys stepped up and made pictures, they made large performs in large moments and that is an indication of a group coming of age.”
Florida additionally performed extra defensively down the stretch, turning the ball over 5 instances within the second half after turning the ball over 14 instances within the first half.
“We touched on ball dealing with,” Castleton mentioned. “If we flip it over and provides them free layups and fast possessions, it simply digs you right into a gap at the start of the sport. Even when we have gained, the final three video games we have gained we have dug ourselves into ourselves and a gap to I really feel like if we are able to clear that up and maintain that going, we’ll win extra of those video games,”
Listed below are three takeaways from the sport:
The gators dug one other gap
Florida went down 11-0 to start out the sport, failing to attain the primary basket till Kowacie Reeves hit a runner in transition on the 15:00 mark. In the course of the stretch, Florida went 0 for 4 from the sector and turned the ball over 5 instances.
“We had been actually constantly dangerous within the first 4 to 6 minutes of the sport however we performed properly within the final 34 minutes,” Golden mentioned. “Now we have to cease digging ourselves clearly if I had a superb reply we would not do it, that being mentioned, that is an excellent group, excellent offensive group, clearly giving plenty of defensive strain that bothered us. within the first half.”
Missouri’s full-court strain harassed Florida all through the primary half, forcing 14 turnovers within the first 20 minutes.
“I’d say simply slowing the sport down was the important thing,” mentioned Richard. “We’re dashing, they’re dashing up the sport, being in transition. So simply decelerate, return to our scout, execute.”
Kugel led the best way again
Freshman Riley Kugel got here off the bench to spark Florida’s comeback, scoring 10 of his 13 factors within the first half. Kugel’s back-to-back 3-pointers lower Missouri’s result in 15-8.
“It actually gave us a spark and everybody fed off that,” Richard mentioned.
Kugel then had a transition layup to chop Missouri’s result in 23-21 and made a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left to tie the rating at 28 at halftime.
“Riley has executed loads,” mentioned Florida guard Myreon Jones. “Now it reveals, he comes into the sport and it is quick, and I feel, the extra video games he performs, the extra relaxed and calm he’s.
3-point line is the distinction
Florida made 10 of 23 from 3-point vary. whereas Missouri was 3 of 19 from past the arc. Richard and Kugel mixed to make seven of Florida’s 10 3-pointers. Richard’s 4 3-pointers had been his most in a recreation since going 4-for-4 in opposition to Stetson on Dec. 4.
“I labored arduous on the underside of the catch, with a superb base,” mentioned Richard. “Take pictures which are open and in rhythm fairly than forcing pictures.”
Senior guard Myreon Jones additionally hit a 3-pointer to lift Florida up 62-55 with 4:50 minutes left. Jones went 2 for five from past the arc to enhance to 7 of 14 (.500) from 3-point vary in his final three video games. He was additionally a constant affect within the second half for the Gators, posting 5 assists to simply 1 turnover in 34 minutes on the ground in opposition to Missouri’s strain protection.
“Myreon has been enjoying properly, ever since Christmas,” Golden mentioned. “He simply does not flip the ball over.”
Defensively, Florida has made important enhancements defending the 3-point line. Missouri has some open seems to be it hasn’t locked down, however the Gators have held opponents to 26.3% from 3-point vary (51-183) of their final 9 video games.
“Our switching type of bothered groups,” Golden mentioned. “They do not get plenty of catch-and-shoot 3s or snug 3s. We often have a reasonably shut contest. We received fortunate with a pair as we speak. I assumed they missed some open ones however about on the time. We had luck on our aspect.”