Noah Locke

The Gators entered Saturday's game hoping for their first true road win of the season and to extend their current win streak to five against Butler.

Florida accomplished neither of those goals in front of a sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse and let a great opportunity to pick up a quality win get away behind inconsistency on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

The Gators were unable to keep up with Butler's offensive efficiency, losing 76-62 to the Bulldogs in Indianapolis.

UF (6-3) looked ready to perform at the start of the first half. A quick 5-0 advantage eventually grew to a 19-13 lead into the middle of the first half, despite two lengthy scoring droughts within the first 10 minutes of the game.

No. 24 Butler (9-0) started out misfiring against the Gators defense, but as the half went on, the Bulldogs started getting the looks they needed and shots started to fall.

The team closed the half on a back-breaking 22-7 run, taking a nine-point lead to the locker room against Florida.

In the second half, UF shot the ball well, but it was unable to thwart Butler's offensive prowess.

The Bulldogs extended its lead to as many as 19 points during the second half in part due to standout performances by guard Aaron Thompson (16 points, seven assists) and forward Sean McDermott (16 points, seven rebounds).

An area that UF coach Mike White usually prides himself in was lacking for his team on Saturday, as the Gators defense allowed Butler to shoot 52 percent (25 of 48) from the field and 45 percent (9 of 20) from beyond the arc.

UF had three double-digit scorers in Noah Locke (11 points, five rebounds), Andrew Nembhard (11 points, five assists) and Kerry Blackshear Jr. (17 points, five rebounds). It shot just 44 percent from the field, including a 6-for-26 effort from the three-point line, though, and that simply wasn't enough to become the first non-conference opponent to beat Butler at home since 2012.

Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak. Contact him at [email protected]

 

Evan Lepak is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida, currently covering UF baseball. He's also covered both UF cross country and UF swimming and diving. He has been with the Alligator since Summer 2018.