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Monday, February 06, 2023

Florida loses on road to Texas A&M after second-half comeback falls short

The defeat snaps the Gators’ 3-game winning streak

Florida graduate student Myreon Jones attempts a jumpshot against the UConn Huskies Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.
Florida graduate student Myreon Jones attempts a jumpshot against the UConn Huskies Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

Florida graduate student guard Myreon Jones caught the ball with 2.5 seconds left for a chance to give Florida the win in his first start of the season. 

However, Jones’ 3-point attempt fell short as the Gators lost to the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Florida Gators (10-8, 3-3 SEC) were defeated by the Aggies (13-5, 5-0 SEC) 54-52 Wednesday night in College Station, Texas. The loss snapped Florida’s three-game winning streak. 

Texas A&M dominated the Gators inside; it outscored UF 30-18 in the paint. Florida finished the game with a 26.2% field goal percentage. 

UF graduate student forward Colin Castleton finished the game with another double-double. He had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jones’ 10 points made him the only other Florida player to score in double-figures

The Gators started slow once again. They missed their first seven shots to open the contest before Jones knocked down a three. 

Jones’ triple was Florida’s only field goal in the opening 16 minutes; the Gators started 1-21 shooting the ball. 

The Aggies' defense stuffed Florida inside with two early blocks and forced UF to settle for 3-point attempts. The Gators shot just 1-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Florida turned the ball over on three straight possessions midway through the first half. Castleton failed to find any open looks down low and was forced into back-to-back traveling calls as he tried to find an open shot. 

UF graduate student guard Kyle Lofton was called for a charge on the following possession. 

Florida sophomore forward Alex Fudge finally helped the Gators get back on the scoreboard, knocking down a pair of free throws. Florida only trailed Texas A&M 8-5 after the score despite the poor start shooting the ball.

Aggies guard Hayden Hefner hit a 3-pointer to stretch Texas A&M’s lead to eight points. Lofton brought the Gators within six points when he made UF’s second field goal at the 3:43 mark of the first half. 

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Florida freshman guard Riley Kugel made a backdoor cut and found himself wide-open for a layup, but the shot went in and out. The sequence represented how the first half went for the Gators. 

The Aggies took an 11-point lead into halftime, up 23-12. Texas A&M forward Julius Marble dribbled down low and scored inside to give him 12 first-half points on 6-9 shooting. 

The Gators finished the first half 2-26 from the field and 1-11 from beyond the arc. Jones made Florida’s lone 3-pointer.

Florida started the second half just like it ended the first, with a missed shot. Fudge hit a long 2-pointer on the next possession to keep UF close. 

The Gators cut the Aggies’ lead to single digits after sophomore guard Will Richard threw down a massive put-back dunk. Jones followed it up with a transition three on the next possession to cap off a 7-0 UF run.

Marble ended the run with a 3-pointer, but Richard responded with a triple of his own. Lofton attacked the basket and scored a layup to cut the deficit to three. 

Florida came back within four points on four straight makes midway through the second half.

Hefner hit another 3-pointer to extend the Aggies' lead. The Gators kept within five points after Castleton found himself open down low and scored an easy bucket. He later converted a three-point play to cut the lead to two.

Texas A&M pushed the lead back to seven after Marble finished a three-point play. Kugel scored a corner triple on the other end to keep the Gators close.

Lofton lobbed the ball up to Castleton, who soared up for the dunk, to cut the lead to two with under two minutes left. Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV drew a foul on the other end and hit two free throws to move the score to 50-46 with one minute left.

Jones missed two straight 3-pointers, but the Gators got the offensive rebound on both attempts. Lofton secured the second rebound and kicked it out to Kugel, who scored a triple to cut the Aggies’ lead to one.

Taylor IV drew another foul and hit both his free throws to give the Aggies a 3-point lead with 23.3 seconds left. Castleton and Lofton’s shots on the other end were denied, and Texas A&M pushed its lead to five points. 

Kugel launched the ball upcourt on the inbound to Jones, who knocked down a deep triple to make it a two-point game. The Aggies turned the ball over on the inbound to give the Gators one more chance to win the game. 

Jones received the ball on the inbound but was forced into a bad shot after being double-teamed. 

Florida finished the second half 14-35 from the field after just two makes in the first.

The Gators will head to Starkville, Mississippi, to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.

Contact Jackson Reyes at jacksonreyes@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes.


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Jackson Reyes

Jackson Reyes is a third-year journalism major and one of the assistant sports editors for the Spring 2023 semester. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and tweeting about Caleb Williams.


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