FINAL: TEXAS A&M 72, FLORIDA 81
Gainesville, FL –Mike White’s Gators basketball team came away with a gutsy win on Tuesday night. Florida played host to the Texas A&M Aggies, a team that has really struggled lately. In fact, A&M was only able to muster 43 total points in their previous outing, a loss to Mizzou.
As they settled in to play at the O’Dome, they appeared ready and able to turn things around. Led by Wendell Mitchell, the Aggies posted the most first half points this Florida team has allowed all season. Mitchell put up 17 of his team’s 46 points and the Aggies went into the break feeling very confident.
Florida’s KeVaughn Allen was really the lone bright spot in an otherwise drab first half performance. He went into the locker room with 14 points and a spot in the UF record books, becoming one of the elite who have scored more than 1,500 career points.
The 13 point deficit that the Gators faced at the break wasn’t entirely the result of poor play on their part. Although, they seemed to insist on taking the most difficult shots they could throughout the first stanza, it was A&M’s inability to miss that gave them such a sizable advantage.
As if to drive this point home, Mitchell nailed a three from around a half mile back, as time expired. Florida would clearly have an uphill battle on their hands.
Following the halftime break, the Gators defense stiffened. The team who currently ranks 11th in offense allowed, managed to put the clamps on A&M’s attack. Their zone coverage was vastly improved throughout the remainder of the game and the Aggies couldn’t find an answer.
Led by KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke, Florida went on a 21-7 run to open the half and take the lead. As hot as A&M had been in the first half, Florida was a tinderbox in the second. As a team, the Gators drained 18 of 37 three point attempts and were perfect in limited opportunities from the charity stripe.
For all of the struggles this year’s basketball Gators have had with finishing games, they dug deep in this one and simply dominated in the second half. The win helps Florida improve to 11-7 overall and 3-3 in conference for the season.
This team is young and, while I don’t believe the growing pains are over just yet, they took a big step forward in their maturation tonight. They were down but not out. For tonight, the Gators can rest easy knowing that they earned their second consecutive victory.
- KeVaughn Allen became the 14th Gator in program history to eclipse 1,500 points. He led the team in scoring, adding 31 points on a 10/16 FG performance.
- Noah Locke was on fire in the second half, scoring 27 points. Locke hit 7/13 three point attempts.
- A&M scored 46 points in the first half. This marks the highest first half total allowed by the Gators this season.
Florida will travel to Fort Worth, TX to take on the Horned Frogs of TCU. Texas Christian is 13-4 on the season and currently ranks 7th in the BIG XII.