Glover

Ques Glover

A Thanksgiving hangover was on display at the O'Connell Center on Friday night.

Both Marshall and Florida came out misfiring, going a combined 0 of 12 from the floor.

but what was an ugly brick-fest in the first turned into an edge-of-your-seat, high-energy contest with under a minute to go.

Up two and with the ball, UF guard Andrew Nembhard dribbled into the paint.

A quick fade in the middle of the floor went up, and as the Black Friday crowd collectively held its breath, the ball found the bottom of the net.

That two-possession lead kept Florida in front for the rest of the game, and the Gators survived 73-67 to extend their winning streak to four.

The first half for Florida (6-2) was abysmal. The team that looked like it had made substantial strides on the offensive side of the ball was a no-show through the first 20 minutes of play.

The Gators shot just 30 percent (9 of 30) from the field, and didn't make a single three (0 of 10) to go along with zero first half assists.

UF coach Mike White pointed to a lack of proper preparation as a reason for the slow start.

"Horrendous," White said, referring to a couple bad practices this week. "We were (as a staff) geeked up, ready to roll, get better ... We had a bad practice (after two days off) and had almost an equally as bad practice yesterday. And we played like it tonight."

The bright spots were minimal, but guard Ques Glover led Florida in scoring with 10 points (3 of 6 from the field) while the Gators had forwards Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Keyontae Johnson on the bench for much of the half due to early foul trouble.

Luckily for UF, Marshall (2-4) shot almost as bad (39 percent). But the Thundering Herd knocked down four from beyond the arc, and got seven points each from forward Iran Bennett and guard Taevion Kinsey to take an eight-point lead into the locker room.

“We talked about how our energy level needed to pick up in the second half," UF forward Dontay Bassett (six points, seven rebounds) said. "We just played out of character."

To start the second, it seemed like the Gators got the message it needed to hear from White.

Florida opened the half and quickly erased Marshall's advantage.

The home team went on a 10-2 run, draining free throws and getting the ball into the post to Blackshear Jr. (10 points, four rebounds).

Once Florida tied the game, it slowly took control.

UF made strides on the offensive side of the floor, shooting 61 percent from the field (17 of 28) and knocking down four threes.

Behind the fluidity of the offense, the Gators surged ahead by 13 with just under six minutes to play.

Costly turnovers and lapses on defense, however, allowed the Thundering Herd to crawl back within two in the final minute.

Although the Gators held on, they let a double-digit lead — and nearly the game — slip away.

"Little things are big in basketball," White said. "And we made a lot of errors tonight."

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.