Three observations following UF’s 116-74 win over Garnder-Webb at the O’Connell Center:
— Florida coach Mike White said it wasn’t by design to use nine players within the first five minutes against Gardner-Webb, but the third-year UF coach felt like he needed to due to some early defensive breakdowns. “We’re trying to hold our guys accountable so we can get better, especially defensively and on the glass,” White said. “I’m not going to yank a guy for missing a shot, unless it’s a crazy shot. I thought our shot selection was good. But in an effort to get better in those (defensive) areas.” Redshirt sophomore Keith Stone was pulled early due to some lackadaisical defense and played just 5 minutes in the first half.
— By jumping to a big lead at halftime, Florida was able to get its three freshmen plenty of time. All three showed good skill and athletic ability. Freshman guard Deaundrae Ballard scored 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting and was more in control, finishing with just one turnover. Freshman guard Mike Okauru had 13 points and 4 assists (to just two turnovers), while freshman forward Chase Johnson had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 1 blocked shots. The trio should be able to help throughout the season.
— The combination of 6-9 Kevarrius Hayes, 6-11 Gorjok Gak and 6-9 Dontay Bassett should be able to hold the fort until John Egbunu returns in January. Hayes had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes and showed he could sink a few open mid-range jumpers. Gak added 4 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks, though missed a few more chances to score inside. Bassett had 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal, but certainly needs to learn the fine line between playing aggressive and fouling. Bassett fouled out, amassing five fouls in four minutes on the floor. At least he got his hacks in.