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Jan 10, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators guard Egor Koulechov (4) points afrer making a three pointer against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Egor Koulechov Excels In Florida’s 71-54 Win vs. Mississippi State

Egor Koulechov notched 23 points on 9-13 shooting from the field as the Gators took down the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday night, 71-54. Florida outscored Mississippi State, 36-28, in the second half on their way to a 17-point victory. Both teams were sloppy with the ball, combining for 31 total turnovers (UF: 15 MSU: 16). Quinndary Weatherspoon led Mississippi State with 16 points, adding 5 rebounds.

The Gators surprisingly outrebounded the Bulldogs, 38-31, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. Florida finished the night with 16 second-chance points. UF outshot MSU, 43%-40% from the field and 39%-31% from beyond the arc. The Gators will have two days off before taking on the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Final Five Thoughts

  1. 3Gor Koulechov: Egor Koulechov had one of his best starts in a Gator uniform on Wednesday night, opening the game 5-6 from the field and 3-3 from beyond the arc. Koulechov scored Florida’s first 13 points of the game, while the rest of the team started 0-8 from the floor. The graduate transfer ended the contest with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Koulechov’s hot start got the O’Connell Center loud and the Gators ready for battle. Unlike last year’s team, a variety of players on this year’s roster can spark Florida’s offense at any given time.
  2. Mike White Outcoached Ben Howland: Mike White knew that Mississippi State was one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country, bottom 10 to be exact (28.9% from three). White had his Gators pack the paint, forcing the Bulldogs to chuck up shots from where they were uncomfortable shooting. Instead of constantly working it inside to Abdul Ado and Aric Holman, both of whom had a clear height advantage on their Florida defenders, Howland decided to let his guards take over, shooting from way outside the paint. Mississippi State finished the game 5-16 31% from downtown.
  3. The Gators Need John Egbunu Back ASAP: Despite a poor offensive gameplan, the Bulldogs were still able to score effectively in the paint. MSU outscored UF, 30-22, in the interior as Ado and Holman had their way inside. Gorjok Gak is a big body, but still a raw talent at the moment. He continues to bite early on post moves and looks unpolished in the paint. Florida will be thanking their lucky stars if John Egbunu comes back earlier than expected.
  4. Keith Stone’s Motor: Over the past three games, Keith Stone has looked like a different player. His attitude looks more positive and his effort has improved exponentially. For the first time this season, Stone tied for the team-lead in rebounding with 8 boards. He added 10 points and finished the game with a +8 rating.
  5. KeVaughn Allen With Another Quiet Night: KeVaughn Allen didn’t attempt a shot vs. Mississippi State until the 10:48 mark of the second half. His first shot resulted in three points, but it was his only score of the game. As Mike White has said many a times, KeVaughn Allen needs to be more selfish and more aggressive if the Gators want to reach that next level of efficiency. When Allen is on, it opens up the floor for his teammates.

Gator Bites

Mike White says his team has been scrappier as of late.

Mike White highlights Keith Stone’s work ethic in practice.

Mike White discusses the first non-college film he saw of Egor Koulechov.

Mike White talks about Chris Chiozza’s leadership and confidence.

Mike White says the Gators practiced “4 on 4” with the amount of injuries and illnesses his team had.

Mike White breaks down Egor Koulechov’s hot start to the game.

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