With 14 seconds left in the game, Florida junior guard Trey Bonham drove to the basket with a chance to tie the game against the Texas A&M Aggies. His attempt came up short, and a charging call gave the ball to the Aggies. The Gators are still searching for their first Southeastern Conference win.
The Florida Gators (7-7, 0-2 SEC) lost to the Aggies (9-5, 1-0 SEC), 66-63, in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Wednesday night. The Gators finished the game with 20 turnovers, and Texas A&M found 21 points from those mistakes.
Florida head coach Todd Golden said he was displeased with how his team took care of the ball. Turnovers allowed the Aggies to take 17 more shot attempts than the Gators.
“It’s a bad formula for winning,” Golden said.
The scoring started before the game even tipped off. The Aggies were charged with an administrative technical foul for delaying the game after forgetting their uniforms at their hotel. Sophomore guard Will Richard nailed the technical shot.
Bonham hit the Gators’ first triple of the evening, but Texas A&M followed the shot with an 8-0 run. Florida graduate student forward Colin Castleton ended the run with an offensive rebound and a layup.
The Gators struggled to put the ball through the net, starting just 2-11 from the field. The Aggies held an early lead, largely because of its 13-6 rebounding advantage midway through the first half.
UF ended its cold streak with a backdoor layup by graduate student guard Myreon Jones. Sophomore forward Alex Fudge cut the Texas A&M lead to five points on a second-chance layup.
TAMU guard Manny Obaseki converted a three-point play on the next possession after drawing a foul on a made layup. Nearly 12 minutes into the game, the Aggies committed its first two team fouls of the game in one possession.
Florida went on a 7-0 run coming out of a timeout. Castleton got free for a slam dunk, and Bonham hit an open triple on the following possession. Castleton was called for a technical after an exchange with the Aggies’ bench following Bonham’s shot.
Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV capped off an 8-0 Texas A&M run with a 3-pointer. Texas A&M took a 28-17 lead, causing Golden to take a timeout.
Reeves stopped the bleeding with a layup down low to cut the lead to single digits. He drove along the baseline and rose up for a layup a few possessions later.
Both sides traded baskets in the final minutes of the first half, and the Aggies led the Gators 34-23 at halftime. Castleton racked up three blocks in the opening half.
Golden said he was disappointed with how his team started the game. His squad came out flat and allowed the Aggies to dictate the tempo, he said.
Richard started the second half with a steal and assist to Bonham for a fast-break layup. Graduate student guard Kyle Lofton and Richard made back-to-back corner 3-pointers to get the Florida crowd fired up and bring their team within three.
The lead was cut to one point after Lofton and Bonham scored layups on consecutive possessions. Castleton drew a foul and hit one of his two free throws to tie the game.
TAMU guard Tyrece Radford hit a 3-pointer to retake the lead, but Bonham quickly responded with a triple of his own.
Texas A&M jumped out to a five-point to steal some of the momentum. Lofton and Radford were each assessed a technical foul after an exchange of words. The Aggies went on a 9-0 run after the game was knotted at 39. The run was marked by a massive put-back dunk by Texas A&M forward Julius Marble following a missed 3-pointer.
Florida failed to get a jump shot to fall for more than six minutes after tying the game. The Gators missed five straight and had a scoring drought of more than two minutes.
UF cut the lead to five points again and ended its shooting drought with a Bonham triple. Richard made one of his two free throws to bring the Gators within three.
Florida’s defensive pressure ramped up midway through the second half. The Aggies missed seven straight shots and went scoreless for more than five minutes.
The Gators, again, came within two after Richard hit a wide-open corner three. Florida took its first lead since early in the first half after Castleton converted a three-point play.
Down three with 1:37 left in the game, Castleton was called for a travel down low. On the other end, the 6-foot-11-inch forward thought he had a clean block to keep the Aggies off the board. However, he was called for a foul that helped TAMU extend its lead to four points.
After making two free throws, Castleton stole the ball at halfcourt and drove down the court to score a layup. The game was tied at 63, and the Aggies called a timeout with 51 seconds left.
Texas A&M came out of the timeout, and Taylor IV scored the go-ahead jumper, which ultimately gave the Aggies the win.
Florida adjusted well defensively, but it didn’t play as well as it has played over its past few games, Golden said. Halftime adjustments gave the Gators a chance to win the game, but his team needs to focus on consistency, he said.
“You can’t put yourself in that type of hole in the first half,” Golden said.
Bonham led the team in scoring with 19 points on 8-13 shooting, including four 3-pointers. The Gators finished the night 7-19 from beyond the arc.
Florida will see a familiar face in its next game when former Florida head coach Mike White and the Georgia Bulldogs head to Gainesville to take on the Gators Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.
Jackson Reyes is a UF journalism senior and The Alligator's Fall 2023 Sports Editor. He previously served as Digital Managing Editor and was a reporter and assistant editor on the sports desk. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and watching Bo Nix.