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Oct 18, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators head coach Mike White answers questions from members of the media during SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Strong From Beyond The Arc in 94-57 Victory Over UTampa

If there’s one takeaway from Florida’s final exhibition game of the year vs. the University of Tampa on Sunday afternoon, it’s that the Gators don’t have a lack of shooters. Florida shot 48% from three-point range on Sunday, accounting for 38% of their total points. Six different Gators knocked down a three-pointer in Sunday’s 94-57 demolition of the Spartans.

Four Florida players finished the game in double-digit scoring. Jalen Hudson led the way with 18 points, while Keith Stone, KeVaughn Allen and Michael Okauru contributed 12, 11 and 11 points respectively. Every Gator who played in Sunday’s exhibition finished with a positive +/- rating. UF held UTampa to 34% shooting from the field and 6% from downtown.

Florida forced 18 turnovers leading to 24 points. The Gators led for the entire game and outrebounded the Spartans, 45-36. KeVaughn Allen led the team with 4 assists filling in for injured point guard Chris Chiozza.

Florida’s Freshmen

  • Michael Okauru
    • Okauru, despite playing the University of Tampa, looked solid in transition and played with a lot of energy. Okauru consistently cut off passing lanes on defense, looking for a steal at any opportunity. As a floor general, his decision-making wasn’t perfect, but he showed a knack for knowing where to get the ball inside.
      • 11 points, 3 rebounds, +29, 5-6 from the field.
  • Deaundrae Ballard
    • Ballard’s acrobatic finish at the rim with just under 5 minutes left in the first half was the epitome of his playing style. The freshman certainly knows how to get to the basket and do it efficiently. Ballard is at his best when he’s constantly attacking the paint, opening up the floor for his teammates.
      • 7 points, 2-3 from the field, +23.
  • Chase Johnson
    • Johnson consistently found himself near the rim whenever a shot went up on offense. He did a nice job of duking it out for offensive rebounds and displayed a high motor in short spurts.
      • 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, +18.

Gator Bites

Mike White on how his team is better offensively, but worse defensively than last year’s team.

Mike White on his team’s on-floor communication vs. UTampa.

Mike White on the need for Keith Stone to improve in his third year.

Mike White on his team’s mentality.

Mike White on Michael Okauru and KeVaughn Allen filling in for Chris Chiozza at point guard vs. UTampa.

Jalen Hudson on KeVaughn Allen playing point guard.

Jalen Hudson on what Mike White told the Gators after Sunday afternoon’s victory.

Michael Okauru on filling in at point guard for Chris Chiozza on Sunday.

First Half

Florida started off the game three for three from long-range, taking a 10-6 lead with 17:15 remaining in the first half. The Gators’ three-point identity was apparent early.

Towards the midway point of the first half, Florida really clamped down on defense. The Gators didn’t allow a field goal to the Spartans for over seven minutes. UF held a 25-10 lead with 11:36 remaining in the first frame, following an 18-4 run.

An Egor Koulechov three-pointer put the Gators up by 20 with just under eight minutes left in the first twenty minutes. Florida opened up the game 14 of 23 (61%) from the field, while the Spartans couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, starting 5 for 20 (25%).

As Mike White seemed to substitute his freshman in and out of the game seamlessly towards the end of the first half, Michael Okauru caught fire. Okauru opened up the game 4 for 4 from the field with 9 points and a stellar +21 rating. Florida led 46-14 with 3:58 left in the first frame.

Despite giving up an 8-0 run to end the half, the Gators took a 51-22 lead into the locker room. Michael Okauru led all scorers with 9 points in the first twenty minutes. Kevarrius Hayes added 6 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks as well.

Halftime

The Gators started off hot from beyond the arc, but cooled off as the game went on. Florida went into halftime shooting 50% from three-point range and 56% from the floor. The Spartans shot 26% from the field and were 0-13 from downtown in the first half. The majority of Florida’s offense came off of turnovers, where they scored 19 points in the first twenty minutes off of 12 Spartan giveaways.

Second Half

After giving up the first basket of the second half, the Gators stormed back with an 8-0 run to take a 59-24 lead with 17:43 remaining in the contest. White opened up the final twenty minutes with the same five he started the game with in KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Egor Koulechov, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes.

The Gators cracked 70 points on a beautiful no-look assist by KeVaughn Allen to Gorjok Gak. Allen looked proficient as a ball handler throughout the game, giving Mike White confidence with Chris Chiozza’s shoulder sprain. Florida led 70-34 with 12:40 left in the game.

With 1:47 left in the contest, the Gators took their first 40-point lead of the contest on a Chase Johnson slam. Johnson scored UF’s final six points of the game. Florida closed the game on a 29-23 run, winning the game 92-54.

Looking Ahead

Florida officially opens up their season on Monday, November 13 at 7 p.m. vs. Gardner-Webb.

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  • Barry Alexander

    Perhaps an over matched team with poor defense contributed to the great offensive output. Now when SEC or good other programs visit that will be the real test.