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Florida 89, FSU 68 Photo by Ashley Ray/UAA

Florida Men’s Basketball Loses to Wake Forest in ACC/SEC Challenge

The Florida men’s basketball team traveled to Wake Forest to battle the Demon Deacons on November 29th as part of the ACC/SEC Challenge. The Gators suffered an 82-71 defeat in a game that was back and forth most of the night. 

First Half Trends

The entire first half was fairly equal on both ends of the ball. Wake Forest and Florida both found much success under the basket. Wake Forest had 16 points in the paint compared to Florida’s 14. 

Wake Forest out-rebounded Florida slightly. The Demon Deacons gathered 24 to Florida’s 19. Although both teams collected rebounds for second-chance points, neither were able to convert many. 

Florida started off shooting well from behind the arc but toward the end of the first half they struggled. The Gators ended up shooting 38.5% from deep. Despite some late shooting struggles, Riley Kugel was able to provide an offensive spark for the team. Kugel had a momentum-shifting dunk with 2:45 left and then hit a 3 slightly after to help extend Florida’s lead.  He led the Gators in scoring with 24 points on the night.

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Florida led at halftime 36-32.

Gators Hot Start to Second Half

Florida came out fighting in the second half. The Gators moved the ball around well and were able to find open shooters. Florida’s defense in the paint led to turnovers for the Deacons. Wake Forest was also struggling with shot-making early in the period. 

While it looked like Florida might run away with the game, Wake Forest turned things around. After trailing by nine points in the second half, Wake Forest got hot from the field, hitting 13 of their last 16 shots to pull away from the Gators.  Wake shot 61 percent from the field in the game and outscored Florida by 20 points int the final 15 minutes of the game as well.  Florida also committed 10 turnovers in the second half.  

Andrew Carr took advantage of the Gator lapses on defense and dominated in the paint as he was able to run a pick-and-pop with the guards that worked effectively and was always a strong body on the floor. Carr totaled 22 points on the night. 

Hunter Sallis tallied 24 for the Deacons and scored many clutch points for the team; his playmaking ability helped extend Wake’s lead late in the game. 

A technical foul and turnovers from Florida led to multiple free throw opportunities for Wake Forest as well as the Gators fall to 4-3 on the year while Wake Forest improves to 4-3.

What’s Next?

Florida will face off against Merrimack College on December 5th. Tip-off is set for 7pm in Exactech Arena.

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