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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Gators rout Stetson, improve to 3-0

Florida held the Hatters to just 40 points in Sunday's contest

<p>Junior Noah Locke knocked down two threes in a losing effort Saturday.</p>

Junior Noah Locke knocked down two threes in a losing effort Saturday.

Florida guard Noah Locke tallied just three points in the first half. In the second? The Baltimore, Maryland, native exploded for 15 points, off of 5-6 shooting beyond the arc. 

Locke’s performance was a microcosm of UF’s offensive game on Sunday against Stetson. A one-man, Keyontae Johnson attack for Florida offensively in the first half turned into an all-out blitz in the second half. The Gators ultimately won with style by a score of 84-40. 

“(The first half) wasn’t me not being aggressive, it was just me not being open to take a shot,” Locke said. “In the second half I feel like I was able to get more of a flow.”

The Gators scored 34 points in the first half, largely due to forward Keyontae Johnson’s 13 points. But the biggest first-half headline was Florida’s defense. By the end of the first 20 minutes, Stetson only scored 15 points and turned the ball over 11 times. But in the second half, the rest of the Gators joined Johnson in the offensive effort and cruised to the blowout win. 

By the final buzzer, four Gators reached double-digit scoring. Johnson had 19 points and Locke had 15, while guards Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis punched in 10 each. 

UF’s points off turnovers was a massive statistical takeaway from Sunday’s game. Florida averaged 22.5 points off turnovers heading into Sunday’s contest.

The Gators secured 24 points off turnovers today, more points than Stetson scored in the entire first half. For Lewis, arguably UF’s best defender, he likes the transition buckets. It’s what he came to Florida to do. 

“When I was recruited, that’s what I expected to walk into,” Lewis said. “High-level energy team, super up and down, get right to it.” 

Energy was a key theme throughout the contest for the orange and blue. That landed the Gators in a bit of foul trouble, however, as forward Anthony Duruji recorded  five fouls in five minutes out of 24 total fouls for Florida. 

But fouling was not the only thing that came with Florida’s effort on Sunday. On the flip side for Florida, points in the paint came in abundance as well against the Hatters. Heading into the game, UF averaged an outstanding 40 points per game from inside the paint. This game won’t change that average much. 

The Gators scored over a third of their points (34) there on Sunday. White credits that to the effort his guys played with in their first game in front of a socially-distant home crowd this season. 

“I thought our guys were eager to play at home and played with a really high level of energy,” White said. 

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Florida’s next game will be its biggest test by far in this young season. White’s group travels to Tallahassee to face in-state rival Florida State on Saturday.

Contact Graham Marsh at and follow him on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF.

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