Coming off of a two-game losing streak, Tyree Appleby scores a career-high 21 points as a Gator in points and leads a huge comeback win against Oklahoma State.
How the game went down
Saturday’s game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Oklahoma State out-muscled the Gators and went into half with a lead 45-32. The Gators were without their two centers, Colin Castleton and Jason Jitoboh, who received surgery for his eye injury in the previous game. With these injuries, the 6’7″ Anthony Duruji started at center for the Gators. Tuongthach Gatkek, the 6’9″ sophomore played 22 minutes, compared to his average of 8.8.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were on fire from the entire court. They shot 70% from the three-point line and 63% overall. They also shined defensively with 5 steals. The Gators, on the other hand, shot just 34.5% from the field, 25% from three.
In a postgame press conference, Gators guards Tyree Appleby and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. describe head coach Mike White’s halftime talk in one word. Soft.
Tyree Appleby and the Gators in the second half
Something about Mike White’s speech ignited the Gators to swing the second half in their favor. They started off hot with a 12-6 run in the first 4:04.
Free throws became the story of the second half, but a three-point shot from Myreon Jones is what officially secured the Gators their first lead in the game since the very first basket.
.@GatorsMBK has taken the lead! #GoGators lead @OSUMBB 58-56 with 8:20 to go thanks to a huge bucket from @MyreonJones21! The crowd is so loud after every basket. #chompchomp (video via @Jensen_Young9) pic.twitter.com/iM1c0h7lpi
— ESPN 98.1 / 850 WRUF (@ESPNGainesville) January 29, 2022
The crowd was electric in the second half, a lot of which was because of the injured Colin Castleton. Castleton did everything he could for his team. This game, that meant getting the crowd excited.
The Gators received a lot of help offensively from the Oklahoma State defense. The Gators drew 19 fouls in the second half that resulted in 32 free throw attempts, 41 total in the game, making 33 of them. 41% of Florida’s points came from the free throw line.
One of the more surprising stars of the game was sophomore Niels Lane. Lane had not played in a game since the start of 2022, but made his presence known in the 13 minutes he received Saturday. In those 13 minutes, Lane had the highest plus/minus on the team with +14. Interestingly, that was in no part because of offensive production as he scored zero points.
From down 16 to winning by nine, the Gators now sit at 13-8 on the season. Next for Florida, they travel to Missouri on Feb. 2.