Wednesday, the Gator men’s basketball team will look for revenge in its rematch against the Kentucky Wildcats in the O’Dome.
History Between the Two
The Gators and Wildcats met earlier this season in Rupp Arena. Florida fell to Kentucky 72-67 despite a valiant comeback effort from the Gators. Colin Castleton led the team with 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and shut down Kentucky star center Oscar Tshiebwe. But without Castleton’s presence, the Gator defense will have to find ways to halt Tshiebwe’s physical play.
Kentucky leads the all-time series 108-41, including a 53-30 record in Gainesville.
The countdown is on. ⏳#GoGators pic.twitter.com/RGNs3VEO5f
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) February 22, 2023
Keys To Victory
To win this game, the Gators will need to contain Tshiebwe. In Kentucky’s win over No. 10 Tennessee on Saturday, Tshiebwe had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman guard Riley Kugel will have to step up against John Calipari’s squad. Kugel has scored in double figures in four straight games, averaging 15.5 points during the stretch. Will Richard also scored in double figures against Arkansas. If the Gators want to get back in the win column, another solid performance from Richard would go a long way.
“When Colin’s out, everybody has to step up,” head coach Todd Golden said. “Everybody has to do a little bit more.”
With Castleton out for the year with a broken hand, Jason Jitoboh and Alex Szymczyk have split the responsibility of replacing the star forward.
“We’re without one of our really good players,” Golden said. “But the way I look at it is it’s an opportunity for others to step up. We’ve still got some really good players in the program.”
Jitoboh struggled against the physical bodies of Arkansas, contributing four points, two rebounds and two turnovers in 24 minutes. Szymczyk, the 6-foot 10-inch freshman, stepped up and had eight points, six rebounds and four steals in 20 minutes.
Former Kentucky basketball player Jack Givens joined Sport Scene Wednesday to discuss tonight’s game. Givens gave insight to some of Kentucky’s injuries including Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick.
Givens also warned Gator fans of up-and-coming point guard threat Cason Wallace.
Tipoff in the O’Connell Center is set for 7 p.m.