Mike White stood in front of reporters on Thursday morning and was immediately asked about the amount of breakdowns Florida had in its three-point defense against South Carolina on Wednesday.
Florida guard Jalen Hudson reached his hands toward South Carolina guard Frank Booker, committing one last desperation foul with 20 seconds re…
“Oh my goodness,” the UF men’s basketball coach said. “A bunch.”
South Carolina forward Maik Kotsar and guard Evan Hinson opened up the scoring with three-pointers on the team's first two possessions. Later in the first half, Gamecocks guard Wesley Myers drained back-to-back uncontested three-pointers. Florida (14-6, 6-2 SEC) wasn’t getting to South Carolina's shooters fast enough, and it showed.
During No. 20 Florida’s 77-72 loss to South Carolina on Wednesday at the O’Connell Center, the Gamecocks found open looks from the perimeter.
White said the little things, such as not fighting through screens with urgency and giving up shots late in the shot clock, allowed the Gamecocks (13-7, 4-4 SEC) to make 52.4 percent of their attempts from long range.
“We have to know the clock,” White said. “Three seconds on the shot clock. At that point, we’ve got to make guys drivers, as opposed to accepting the late-clock threes.”
Against Kentucky on Saturday, the Gators did just that. They held the Wildcats to four three-pointers on 17 attempts, rarely giving them good looks. Against South Carolina though, Florida did the opposite, unable to defend from deep.
When UF faces off against Baylor (12-8, 2-6 Big 12) this Saturday at noon at the O’Connell Center, White will look for his team to bounce back from its loss to the Gamecocks.
One thing White views as a challenge is the Bears’ size. Seven-foot tall big man Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. controls the boards, averaging 9.4 rebounds per game (third best in the Big 12), while 6-foot-8 forward Terry Maston averages 6.3 rebounds per game.
Baylor’s leading scorer, however, is its smallest player. Manu Lecomte, a 5-foot-11 redshirt senior, averages 16.6 points per game, good for sixth best in the Big 12. White said he’s looking forward to the matchup between Lecomte and UF guard Chris Chiozza, who's averaging 12.2 points per game.
“(Lecomte has) got the whole package,” White said. “He’s a terrific point guard with a lot of experience, and we’ve got one as well. That’ll be a great matchup at the point.”
Overall, White said he wants the Gators to focus on their attention to detail against the Bears, something that eluded them on Wednesday.
“Our attention to detail was better Saturday (against Kentucky),” White said. “It’s been better at times. It’s got to be better this Saturday to have a chance.”