What hurt most were the three-pointers.
The Gators missed their first ten shots from behind the arc and then their last two, including a late heave from Dorian Finney-Smith that bounced off the right side of the rim, giving Michigan State possession with 24 seconds remaining and a four point lead.
The Gators went on to lose 58-52 to the No. 1 Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday night. Florida kept the score close for a majority of the game despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 4-of-18 from deep.
“For the most part we played really hard, as hard as we’ve played this year,” coach Mike White said. “This is as physical a team as we’ll play all year and we matched that physicality.”
Florida’s (6-3) defense kept the score close all game. Despite center John Egbunu only playing seven minutes due to foul trouble, UF held MSU to 38.6 percent shooting from the field and just 20 percent from behind the arc.
The Gators also forced 12 turnovers while committing just eight of their own, tied for their second lowest total of the season.
Kasey Hill came off the bench for the first time this season, scoring 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. The junior guard also collected six rebounds and four steals.
“This was Kasey’s best game,” White said. “He made high, high energy plays. He was flying around the floor, got a couple hard rebounds and really used his athleticism.”
In place of Hill in the starting rotation, Chris Chiozza finished with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including a sequence in the second half in which the sophomore made two straight threes, delivered a one-handed bounce pass to a cutting Devin Robinson for a dunk, and drained a pull-up three on the ensuing possession.
Senior guard Denzel Valentine led Michigan State (11-0) with 17 points, but went just 5-of-17 from the field and 3-of-11 from deep.
Florida has a week off before it faces Oklahoma State on Dec. 19 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise.
“This team has a chance to be really good defensively. There were just five or six defensive mistakes that I wish we could’ve cleaned up,” White said. “We definitely are taking steps forward.”
A radio broadcast contributed to this report.
Follow Ian Cohen on Twitter @icohenb
UF point guard Kasey Hill goes up for a layup during Florida's 104-54 win against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 16, 2015, in the O'Connell Center.