Over 2000 people made it out to the O’Connell Center on Saturday to watch the Florida men’s basketball team grab its first win of the new year. UF defeated the LSU Tigers 83-79 bringing their overall record to 5-1 and 2-0 in league play.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 2, 2021
On The Leaderboard
At the half, the Gators were tied up with LSU 40-40. Junior forward Colin Castleton made a comeback from a rough first half and helped place his team in a more stable position in the second. Castleton scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half and grabbed six rebounds. According to Castleton, Gator coach Mike White was able to reset the team and send out a better version for the last half of the match up.
Close behind Castleton is Tre Mann who contributed 19 points and five rebounds. Junior forward Anthony Duruji added 16 points and seven rebounds of his own. Last but not least, a major contribution to the win came from the sidelines with Keyontae Johnson. With his own chair labeled “Coach Key”, Johnson gave advice to his teammates in huddles and timeouts.
In addition, Mike White appreciated his presence and values the contributions he is able to make as he returns back to health.
“He’s charismatic. He loves his teammates. So when he says something at timeouts or huddles it holds a lot of weight,” said White. “He’s got ultimate respect from his teammates and there’s no doubt he was a factor today.”
Looking At LSU
LSU proved to be a tough opponent to break away from. Once the Gators finally grabbed a substantial lead at 65-52, the Tigers were able to close the gap to just two points. SEC scoring leader Cameron Thomas contributed 28 points, 11-for-11 from the free-throw line and three rebounds for the Tigers. Trendon Watford added 19 points and eight rebounds as well.
Prior to the game, Mike White told his players that Thomas and Watford were going to be difficult to guard. Overall, Anthony Duruji felt the team was able to hold them well defensively.
Next up, the Gators have a road game this week against Alabama.