Florida moved up one spot to No. 6 in this week’s AP men’s college basketball poll.
The Gators won two of three games this week in the PK 80 men’s basketball tournament in Portland, Ore., beating Stanford and No. 15 Gonzaga before losing to No. 1 Duke 87-84 in the tournament finals late Sunday night. Florida was unable to hold a 17-point second-half lead.
“Duke defended at a high level in the last six, eight minutes of the game,” Florida coach Mike White said in the postgame news conference. “Not that they didn’t defend earlier on, but I though they just really tightened up and forced some contested ones late. If one of them goes, maybe it’s different. Maybe we can stymie a couple of those runs. We had a couple shots there in the paint that you wish one of them had gone. I thought that they were really good down the stretch defensively.”
Duke freshman 6-foot-11 center Marvin Bagley III scored 30 points, as the Gators were outscored 38-34 in the paint. Duke also outrebounded Florida 43-36, though the Gators outscored the Blue Devils 21-19 in second-chance points.
“I told our guys, we’re scrappier and tougher than we were a week ago and way tougher than we were a month ago, so we got a lot out of this weekend in a bunch of different areas and ways,” White said. “But we’ve got to figure something out. We tried to double a couple times with guards. We haven’t spent a lot of time big-to-big doubling.”
Junior guard Jalen Hudson, junior guard KeVaughn Allen and senior point guard Chris Chiozza were named to the PK80 all-tournament team. Hudson posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds against Duke and averaged 25.3 points in three games. In addition, with 17 points on Sunday, Allen became the 53rd player in UF history to reach 1,000 or more points for his career.
The Gators will get the rest of the week off before facing rival Florida State on Monday, Dec. 4 at Exactech Arena (9 p.m., ESPN2). Chiozza said the tournament was a valuable experience, despite the finals loss.
“It just showed that we’ve got some toughness in us,” Chiozza said. “That was questionable coming into this tournament. Coach tells us every day we’ve got to get tough, and we showed that we are a tough team.”