Florida guard sTre Mann (1) and Noah Locke (10) celebrate after Marshall called a timeout during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

UF Men’s Basketball Heads to Starkville

Florida men’s basketball heads to Starkville in search of their fourth conference win of the season.

Gators Bounce Back

The Gators started out strong when SEC play began on Dec. 30. The team was back for the first time since Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the floor against FSU on Dec. 12. The team managed to take the win against Vanderbilt. Soon followed a win against LSU at home. Then came back-to-back losses against Alabama and Kentucky. Now, coming off a win against Ole Miss, the Gators need to carry the momentum against Mississippi State.

Colin Castleton led the charge in the Gators’ 72-63 win on Tuesday. The transfer forward put up 21 points backed by 10 rebounds in 31 minutes of play. Tre Mann also managed to get 17 points on the board for the Gators in the win. Another dynamic performance from Castleton could be a key in taking down the Bulldogs’ defense on Saturday. Head Coach Mike White believes the key is for his team to step up and play with urgency and edge, especially in the upcoming SEC matchup.

Bulldogs Basketball

Mississippi State’s current conference record matches the Gators’ at 3-2. The Bulldogs picked up wins from Georgia, Missouri and Vanderbilt, while picking up losses from Kentucky and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs did put up a much better fight than the Gators against Kentucky. The team lost to the Wildcats by just five points and after two overtime periods.

Mississippi State has a strong set of guards on the court led by Iverson Molinar. The sophomore guard was the team’s top scorer in the recent loss against Texas A&M, putting up 16 points against the Aggies. Molinar was the second-leading scorer against Kentucky, scoring 17 on the game.

Keys on Both Sides

Florida’s Keyontae Johnson shoots over Boston College’s Steffon Mitchell (41) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

They major key for the Gators will be stopping Molinar’s hot hand as well as that of D.J. Stewart Jr, who was the leading scorer against Kentucky. White also mentioned that stopping the big guy, Tolu Smith, was also critical for a Gators win.

The key for the Bulldogs will be on defense. Except for the loss against Kentucky, the Gators have managed to put up at least 70 points throughout conference play. The Bulldogs will need to stand strong and play some tough defensive basketball in order to take the win in this one.

About Sara Kate Dyson

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