FINAL: TEXAS A&M 72, FLORIDA 81
Fort Worth, TX – The Gators have fallen to 11-8 on the season after dropping an important contest to TCU in the SEC / Big XII Challenge 55-50.
Florida entered the contest with an opportunity to help their NCAA tournament resume, but let yet another game slip away.
The Gators still have a number of games against the elite teams of the SEC, but time is certainly dwindling on the season and Florida will need to turn things around if they hope to play in the tournament.
The Gators got off to the worst start possible. TCU had a commanding 18-3 lead with 9:28 to play in the opening half. You read that right, the Gators managed just one basket in more than ten minute of play to open the game. They missed their first seven attempts from the field before Deaundrae Ballard hit an open three with almost six minutes gone in the game.
Even as the Gators began to find the basket, the scoring margin stayed above double-digits. Florida trailed by 16 until KeVaughn Allen hit a driving layup with 1:05 to play. Kevarrius Hayes would add a layup before half to cut the deficit to 32-20.
While head coach Mike White has taken quite a bit of heat on social media, whatever he said to his guys at halftime worked.
Florida opened with a 14-2 run to tie the game less than eight minutes into the second half. The Gators and Horned Frogs then basically traded baskets for much of the game. With 4:25 left in regulation, Kouat Noi knocked down a three to extend TCU’s lead to seven, but KeVaughn Allen capitalized on a Noi turnover with a quick three himself to close the gap to 51-47. However, after the media timeout, Florida missed six of their final seven attempts and fell 55-50.
- KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 11 points, but only shot 4-13 from the field and 2-9 from deep.
- Kevarrius Hayes finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds, but also blocked five shots. Hayes is now in third place in program history with 187 career blocks (surpassed Joakim Noah).
- The Gators recorded an assist on 14 of their 19 made baskets.
Florida returns to the SEC slate with a home date against #20 Mississippi. The Rebels are 14-5 this season and fell to #24 Iowa State 87-73 in the SEC / Big XII Challenge on Saturday.