Defense, Robinson highlight intrasquad scrimmage

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Florida coach Mike White said earlier this week that his team’s defense was catching up to its offense.

The Gators showed more defensive intensity in their second scrimmage on Friday while still putting together some productive offensive stretches.

Offensively, junior forward Devin Robinson was the standout, finishing with 23 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the floor and 4 of 4 shooting from 3-point range. After knocking down back-to-back 3-point attempts to start the scrimmage, the 6-foot-8 Robinson used shot fakes nicely to attack the rim, draw fouls and finish closer to the basket.

“A couple of those plays he even finished off one foot in the paint, we are challenging him more to play off of two feet,” White said. “I just think it translates a little bit better for game success, but he’s shooting the ball well and he had a very good day.”

Both of UF’s point guards also provided sparks on both ends of the floor. Junior point guard Chris Chiozza had 17 points, 3 assists and 4 steals, while senior point guard Kasey Hill had 13 points, 8 assists and 4 steals. Hill used his speed down the floor to create offense, while Chiozza was hot from the perimeter, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Hill and Chiozza’s combined assist-to-turnover ratio was 10 to 2.

“I was pleased to see both point guards play well,” White said. “We had a segment where we played them together and we’ll try it. Both if they are both playing really well we’re gonna try to put the best five on the floor in certain situations at least.”

After making 20 3-pointers in its opening scrimmage against what White termed as “token” defense, Florida still made 14 3-pointers and shot 56 percent (14-25) from beyond the arc in its second scrimmage. But White felt there was better attention to detail defensively and was pleased with how well both intra-squad teams played in the press, which was installed less than two days ago. Combined, Florida finished with 13 steals and 5 blocked shots.

“Our help side defense was better, just positionally overall, it’s been a big point of emphasis throughout the past week because we were a little bit too good offensively in our first scrimmage for where we are,” White said. “So I thought there was more attention to detail in transition defense.”

Forward Canyon Barry, forward Keith Stone and center Kevarrius Hayes each added 11 points in the scrimmage. KeVaughn Allen (1-8, 2 points) and John Egbunu (2-5, 4 points) both struggled to get going offensively. Florida also had a drop off in free-throw shooting in the second scrimmage, going 15 of 24 from the line (.625).  With three officials from the SEC calling the scrimmage, the Gators had 33 fouls in four eight-minute segments (Justin Leon fouled out with 7 points). White did a six-minute halfcourt segment at the end of the scrimmage in which both teams struggled to score.

“We were playing two stops in the row to get the ball,” White said. “I thought we executed better there than in the scrimmage, we just didn’t finish very well. Sometimes when you end a fullcourt scrimmage and you finish it in the halfcourt, there’s a big letdown, we definitely lost focus. I don’t know how productive that was.”