Will Richard supports his team in the Florida Gator basketball team's SEC Tournament game on March 9. Photo courtesy of Maddie Washburn.

Gators Improve to 6-3 With Richmond Win

Florida was able to outlast the Richmond Spiders, 87-76, Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise.

Solid Start for Both Squads

The first half of play proved to be a fairly equal matchup for both teams. Richmond (5-5) came out with solid man-to-man defense that slowed down the fast-pace Gators. Florida (6-3) was able to hit free throws early, going 5-6, which is much better than the 60% it shot from the stripe against Merrimack.

Florida looked much better in transition compared to the last outing. Against Merrimack, the Gators made sloppy mistakes that led to turnovers early. The Gators capitalized on transition points and used their speed advantage to exhaust Richmond.

Riley Kugel helped the Gators extend their lead in the first half with five straight points. This push led to a 36-28 Florida lead with 3:16 left in half one.

Florida was able to hold Richmond scoreless for the final 3:07 in the first half. Tyrese Samuel was a rebounding monster who the Spiders couldn’t handle. Samuel’s physicality and strength allowed him to claim a double double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Florida led at the half, 40-30.

Second-Half Stars

Richmond came out fighting in the second half. The Spiders’ aggressive defense led to a 6-0 run. Florida, however, continued to be active on both ends, leading to open shots and second-chance opportunities.

Florida outrebounded the Spiders, 49-30. Florida has four games this season with 20+ offensive rebounds.

Will Richard quickly caught fire from beyond the arc to gave Florida its largest lead. Three straight 3s for Richard put Florida up 62-46 with 11:44 to go.

Neal Quinn decided the Spiders weren’t going down without a fight and contributed to Richmond’s momentum and late push. Quinn totaled 17 points and 6 assists.

Many fouls ensued late in the game which led to 33 second-half free throws. Florida shot 15 for 19 with Richmond shooting 8-14 from the charity stripe.

Despite Richmond’s efforts, the Gators were able to solidify their lead and cruise to the finish.

South Florida (4-4) defeated Florida State, 88-72, in the first game. The Seminoles dropped to 4-5.

Next for Florida

The Gators will battle East Carolina (6-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday in Lakeland.

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