Mike White walked into the media room of Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday not sure how to answer questions about his team’s shooting woes at the end of a 72-60 loss to Georgia.
“I’m just disappointed,” White said. “We’ve shown more fight than that.”
At its best, the Florida men’s basketball team’s offense is an explosive, high-scoring machi…
For a team that held a three-point lead midway through the second half, that fight White referred to appeared to be present. In the final 10 minutes, however, it all disappeared.
The Gators made just three of their last 20 attempts from the field, falling victim to an increase in pressure from the Bulldogs’ defense. Florida shot nine three-pointers during that stretch, making only one of them courtesy of forward Keith Stone.
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in our league,” guard Egor Koulechov said. “At the same time, it’s up to us to make some shots, too. In the second half, we just didn’t.”
Florida has potential to be one of the top shooting teams in the SEC, as proven when it shot 60.7 percent from beyond the arc and 51.6 percent from the field against Texas A&M on Jan. 2. However, when it struggles to score, it affects the team as a whole, as shown against Georgia.
UF will look to move past its poor shooting performance at the end of the game against UGA when it plays Alabama on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the O’Connell Center.
While the Crimson Tide doesn’t shoot particularly well — it averages 73.8 points a game, good for a share of 10th in the SEC — it has one of the top young talents in the conference.
Guard Collin Sexton ranks third in the SEC with 18.7 points per game and runs a large portion of Alabama’s offense with 3.2 assists per game.
He’ll be a tough matchup for UF guard Chris Chiozza. While Sexton is a better scorer, Chiozza averages more assists per game (6.1), rebounds per game (4.2) and steals per game (1.9).
Alabama holds a slight advantage on defense, edging out Florida in rebounds and blocked shots.
Crimson Tide forward Donta Hall (6.8) and guard Dazon Ingram (6.2) lead the team in rebounds, while Hall leads the team in blocks per game (2.3). The Gators will rely on Stone and center Kevarrius Hayes to limit the Crimson Tide’s productivity on the inside.
Both Florida and Alabama are coming off tough losses where they trailed for most of the game. The Crimson Tide fell to Missouri 69-60 on Wednesday, a team the Gators beat 77-75 on Jan. 6.
Following a disappointing loss to Georgia, White wants to see his players answer back with a better performance on Saturday.
“We got to be as fresh as we can be,” White said. “Maybe we can get a guy or two to really step up in terms of throwing their bodies around and getting us some hard rebounds.”