It took 17 games for a Florida men’s basketball player to eclipse 20 points in a contest.
Other players came close. Guard Deaundrae Ballard scored 19 against Stanford on Nov. 22. Guards Noah Locke and KeVaughn Allen have hovered around that mark multiple times throughout the season but never attained that coveted statistical prize.
Not until Tuesday night.
Both Locke and Allen scored over 20 points in the Gators’ win over Texas A&M. They didn’t just reach that bar, they surpassed it. Allen dropped a season-high 31 points, while Locke scored a career-high 27.
But that’s now in the past. The question remains: can they keep up that level of scoring intensity as UF faces TCU on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas?
“As I told our guys, I hope we get 18 threes every night, but we’re not going to,” Florida coach Mike White said. “We’ve got to find other ways to score as well.”
The first response might be "no." It’s almost impossible to repeat that kind of performance.
Allen shot 80 percent from beyond the arc on 10 shots, a shooting night that has been unparalleled so far this season. He shot 10 of 16 from the floor, had three steals, blocked two shots and grabbed three rebounds.
“It’s two games in a row where he’s just been aggressive, confident, getting the ball,” White said. “Everyone in this room knows he’s capable of doing that, so it’s nice to see it.”
Locke had a similar night. He made seven shots from deep on 13 attempts, and he spent most of his night attacking from the perimeter.
The odds of both Allen and Locke repeating those performances are slim to none.
That doesn’t mean they can’t both bring a good offensive showing against TCU. The Horned Frogs allow 66.9 points per game, but they defend the three-ball well. Opponents make 27.7 percent of their three pointers when playing TCU.
This means that Allen and Locke will have to attack the basket more to get those points.
They already showed offensive prowess, increasing their scoring average in SEC play to 17.8 and 15.3, respectively.
“I was trying to pick it up for the team,” Locke said. “I try to have that attitude all the time.”
TCU won’t be easy to score against, even with Allen and Locke showing vast improvement. The Horned Frogs are 14-4 on the season and 3-3 in the Big 12, and two of those losses came against ranked opponents in Kansas and Oklahoma.
“You can’t be a high-level team and fluctuate with your energy, intensity, competitiveness levels, focus levels, especially when you don’t have a huge margin for error,” White said. “We’re not superior to any team we play.”
Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guard KeVaughn Allen became the first Gator this season to score at least 20 points when he dropped 31 against Texas A&M on Tuesday. "It's two games in a row where he's just been aggressive, confident," coach Mike White said.