Gators 93, Greyhounds 73 Photo by Maddie Washburn (UAA)

Florida Men’s Basketball Defeats Loyola Maryland, 93-73

The 2023-2024 Florida Gator men’s basketball season is officially underway. The season tipped off Monday when the team defeated Loyola (MD) 93-73. The Gators entered the season with only two returning starters in Riley Kugel and Will Richard.

The Game

With guard Zyon Pullin still serving a three-game suspension, Florida’s starting five was Riley Kugel, Micah Handlogten, Tyrese Samuel, Walter Clayton Jr. and Will Richard. For Loyola, their starting five was Tyson Commander, D’Angelo Stines, Milos Ilic, Alonso Faure and Deon Perry.

The Gators started hot, scoring the first sixteen points of the game, going up 16-0 with 14:13 to go in the first half. However, the team cooled off after the hot start and allowed a slow climb back into the Game for Loyola. The score was 42-30 at halftime.

Following halftime, the Gators scored the first five of the second half with an 18-foot jumper by Samuel and a 23-foot three-pointer from Handlogten. Florida would go on to out-score Loyola 51 to 43 in the second half, securing the victory. The Gators largest lead of the game came with 12:38 to go in the second half, when they led by 26.

The Stats

The Gators were led by preseason All-SEC guard Riley Kugel, who put up 23 points on 19 shots. He was 10-15 from field goal but 0-for-3 from three. The other returning starter from last year’s team was Will Richard, who went 1-for-4 from field goal, scoring only three points.

Micah Handlogten, the 7-foot-1 Marshall transfer, put on a show. On only nine shots, he scored 16 points and was 2-2 from three-point range. He also added six rebounds and a block. 6-foot-10 forward Tyrese Samuel was tied with Iona transfer Walter Clayton Jr. as the team’s leading rebounders. They both had eight boards on the night. Samuel had 15 points and Clayton Jr. had nine.

Freshman forward-center Alex Condon was the team’s sixth man, putting up 13 points on 10 shots off the bench. He went 2-for-3 from deep and added three rebounds.

For Loyola, Golden Dike led the way in points and rebounds with 16 points and six boards. He did that coming off of the bench.

As a team, the Gators out-rebounded Loyola 35-28. They shot 58.1% from field goal and 37.5% from three.

What’s Next?

The Gators travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, later this week for a matchup with Virginia. The neutral site will be part of a 2023 Hall of Fame Series tripleheader. It will take place Friday at the Spectrum Center at 7 p.m.

Loyola’s next game is Saturday against Brown at 11:30 a.m.

About Josiah Caswell

Class of 2026 at the University of Florida. Majoring in Journalism on the sports & media track.

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