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Gators Men’s Basketball To play In Fort Myers Tip-Off Title Game after Beating Cal

The 23rd ranked Florida men’s basketball team once again showcased its defensive fortitude as they cruise to a win in the opening game at the Fort Meyers Tip Off Tournament, beating California (2-3) ,80-60, on Monday to stay undefeated at 4-0 on the season.  For Florida coach Mike White, this marks his third 4-0 start at the helm for the Gators.

 Gators Stay Unbeaten

The Gators continue their dominance winning their fourth consecutive game by double-digits. Also, this marks the first time since the ’17-’18 season Florida started the year 4-0.

Entering the game, forward Colin Castleton highlighted a head-to-head battle with Cal’s Andre Kelly down low. Both players entered Monday’s match up averaging a double-double, leading their teams in points and rebounds.

However, Castleton gets the bragging rights in this one, as he holds Kelly to a mere nine points and two rebounds for the game.

Meanwhile Castleton scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He did most of his damage in the second half scoring 10 points including back-to-back baskets to give the Gators a game high 26 point lead.

Adding 15 points, guard Tyree Appleby forced the issue penetrating the Bears defense throughout the game; his aggressive play payed off as he shot a perfect 7 for-7 from the free-throw line.

All in all, Florida had a total of four players in double figures including, Myreon Jones with 13 points and Phlandrous Fleming contributing 11 points off the bench.

How It Happened

Florida started the game well as Appleby assisted Castleton on an alley-oop  to give the Gators the early lead and the Gator defense seemed to put the Cal’s offense in unfamiliar territory throughout the first half, as White implanted a full court press to start the game.

For Cal, they are ranked the ninth slowest tempo team in the country and it was clear early, the Gators wanted to speed the pace a little. The heightened tempo forced 18 Cal turnovers to slow down the Bears offense.

Later, after three made free throws, Appleby helped Florida get to a 30-21 with 4:21 left in the first half.  From there, the Gators continued to build their lead as Jones had a hot hand from deep as Florida led Cal at the half, 46-27.

For the game, the Gators shot 8-19 from behind the arc including, Jone’s three 3’s before the half. Continuing their dominance in the second half, Florida crushed any ounce of hope the Bears had to win this game.

Suffocating Cal from behind the arc, Florida held the Bears to 2 for 10 shooting from deep. Overall, the Gators hold another opponent to a subpar shooting performance as the Bears shoot 44 percent from the floor for the game.

Looking Ahead

Now, Florida gets their sights set towards Wednesday’s tournament title game against the Ohio State Buckeyes (4-1). The Buckeyes are coming off an impressive and nail biting victory over 21st ranked Seton Hall, 79-76.

Florida and Ohio State are s set to tip off  in Fort Myers, Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

About Curtis Michaud

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