The Gators looked like a completely different team from the one that played Monday as they played with lots of energy and hustle. Almost every area that Florida struggled in on Monday is where they excelled on Wednesday. Florida guard Myreon Jones said it was good to have a quick turnaround to put the game behind them, and that they agreed in the locker room they could not play like that again.
“That’s what we were saying after the game, this is a wake up call,” Jones said.
Head coach Mike White said the team held a “lengthy” meeting after the loss on Tuesday where everybody spoke. He was impressed with the team’s maturity to put up the type of effort they did on Wednesday.
Energy On Both Ends
The clearest difference between Monday and Wednesday was the effort the Gators played with. Florida showed hustle, dove for loose balls and made all the plays that they did not make against Texas Southern.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) December 9, 2021
The Gators had 21 steals and forced 28 total turnovers on the night. It was the type of defensive effort that the Gators showed in their first six games, but not in their two losses.
Florida held the Ospreys to just 34% shooting from the field and 24% from three. They had active hands, pressed hard and were up in the faces of North Florida all night long. They made everything tough on the Ospreys, holding them to their second lowest point total of the season.
The energy on defense led to offense on Wednesday for Florida as the Gators 28 turnovers led to 33 points. They also had 28 points on the fastbreak. Tyree Appleby led the team with four steals, Elijah Kennedy and CJ Felder both had three and five other Gators had two steals.
The Gators were also much cleaner with the ball than they have been the last two games as they committed just 10 turnovers.
Still, shooting concerns remain for Florida. The Gators shot just 45% from the field and 5-23 (22%) from deep. The Gators must figure out their shooting woes going forward if they want to turn this season into a great one.
Castleton Shines In Career-Best Effort
Colin Castleton was the start of the night for Florida. After a lackluster performance Monday when he grabbed just five rebounds, the Gators center scored a career high 26 points and added eight boards in just 27 minutes. He took responsibility for the loss and said it was very hard on him.
“I took it personally on my shoulders,” Castleton said. “I don’t even know how much I slept.”
The senior transfer dominated down low and controlled the paint. White was impressed with his maturity to pick up the effort and said nobody took the loss more personal than Castleton.
“He was aggressive, he imposed his will on the interior, but it started with the way he approached his defensive effort,” White said.
The Gators will need that version of Castleton moving forward. They are a much better team when he is being aggressive, getting to the rim and finishing in the post.
He was also very effective at getting to the foul line. After shooting just four three throws on Monday, he had 11 attempts on Wednesday and made eight of them.
Early on in the season it seems that as Castleton goes, the team goes around him and that was certainly the case on Wednesday. He set the tone for Florida and played a relentless style of basketball, bringing the energy to guys around him. His coach said Castleton played a major part in Tuesday’s meeting that helped the team move past their back-to-back losses.
Castleton also told reporters that Florida must now put Monday’s loss behind them and move forward. They will look to build off of Wednesday’s win against Maryland on Friday in Brooklyn and coverage begins on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF at 3:50 p.m.