Florida drops third straight, upset by Loyola-Chicago

Florida guard Egor Koulechov goes up for a shot Wednesday against Loyola-Chicago at the O'Connell Center. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

So much for the feel-good 5-0 start. So much for being billed as one of the best shooting teams in the country.

No. 5 Florida continued its tailspin Wednesday with a numbing 65-59 loss to Loyola-Chicago, a 16-point underdog, that left third-year coach Mike White and his players searching for answers. The Gators (5-3) dropped their third straight game, their longest losing streak since losing four in a row in White’s first season in 2015-16. It also was their second consecutive home loss.

The losing streak could extend to four if the Gators can’t get their act together before facing No. 17 Cincinnati on Saturday at the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, N.J. (6 p.m., ESPN2).

“This is the lowest we can get,” Florida junior guard Jalen Hudson said. “I don’t think we can get any lower than this. I’m sure we’re out of the rankings; none of that even matters. But we’re as low as we can get. We’ve got to completely change everything we’re doing and go back to the basics. … We’ve got to have a change of heart, a change of everything. It’s not working.”

Florida let Loyola-Chicago get too comfortable early and paid for it late. The Ramblers made 10 of their first 13 shots and 5 of their first 6 3-point attempts to build a 13-point first-half lead and gain belief they could pull off the upset.

“I’ve done a very poor job with this team defensively,” White said. “We are not a good defensive team. We’re not very tough, and that starts with me.”

The Gators shot just 36.9 percent from the field, 2 of 19 from 3-point range and dished just seven assists. No Florida player reached double figures. Point guard Chris Chiozza had 9 points and 5 assists, while Hudson finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds.

Still, Florida had a chance to tie the game coming out of a timeout down 61-59 with 35.6 seconds left, but junior guard KeVaughn Allen missed a driving bank shot. Center Kevarrius Hayes appeared to tie the score on a putback tip but was called for basket interference. From there, Loyola-Chicago made four straight free throws down the stretch to close out the game.

Aundrae Jackson led Loyola-Chicago (9-1) with 23 points, while center Cameron Krutwig burned the Gators inside with 14 points and 8 rebounds. The Ramblers overcame losing starting point guard Clayton Custer to an ankle injury late in the first half.

“Just unbelievably proud of my guys for the effort they gave and battling through adversity when Clayton went out,” Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser said. “Proud of the culture, the type of guys that are here, happy for that kind of effort.”

White made a few starting lineup changes — going Hayes and forward Keith Stone up front, with Chiozza, Egor Koulechov and freshman Deaundrae Ballard in the backcourt. Allen and Hudson came off the bench, with Ballard making his first career start.

“I was looking for guys who were going to play hard,” White said. “We can not shoot our way into being an elite team, it’s not going to happen. Hopefully our guys know why. You have to learn to win games when you are not shooting at a high level.”

The lineup changes didn’t provide the intended spark. Stone had an early putback basket inside, but Florida left Jackson too open on the perimeter. Jackson made the Gators pay, hitting a pair of early 3-pointers to help ULC jump to an early 8-4.

Loyola-Chicago continued its hot shooting start, building a 27-14 lead on a Donte Ingram 3-pointer. Florida spent the rest of the half playing uphill. Chiozza capped an 8-0 run with UF’s lone 3-pointer of the half, cutting Loyola’s lead to 27-22. After ULC went back up 32-22 on a Donte Ingram 3-pointer, the Gators answered with a 9-0 run which included a Koulechov three-point play, Stone putback basket and Allen steal and transition basket. But Loyola-Chicago guard Marques Townes was able to hit a running basket in transition at the first-half buzzer, putting the Ramblers up 34-31 at halftime.

Florida scored 15 points off turnovers in the first half, which help offset a 1-of-8 start from 3-point range.

UF took its only lead, 39-38, early in the second half on a Hayes steal and breakaway dunk off an in-bounds pass. But Loyola-Chicago quickly took back control of the game, going up 42-39 on a pair of inside baskets by Cameron Krutwig and Jackson, which prompted White to call a timeout.

“We’re not a very accountable team right now,” White said. “We’re a team that has been told how good they are, it’s been at an all-time high right now in the past 10 days, so hopefully we’ve been humbled a little bit. We’ve got guys who have gotten a lot of accolades, scored a lot of points that are struggling to put it in the basket right now and their other deficiencies are glaring, none of which are very surprising at all to my staff.”



Jackson 10-12 0-0 23, Krutwig 6-10 2-2 14, Custer 2-5 0-0 4, Townes 1-4 0-0 2, Ingram 4-10 0-0 11, Williamson 1-3 0-0 2, Skokna 0-0 0-0 0, Satterwhite 0-1 4-4 4, Avery 2-5 1-3 5. Totals 26-50 7-9 65.


Stone 4-7 0-0 8, Hayes 2-6 1-2 5, Koulechov 3-13 1-1 7, Chiozza 3-7 2-2 9, Ballard 3-6 1-2 7, Gak 3-4 0-0 6, Hudson 3-11 3-5 9, Allen 3-11 1-2 8, Okauru 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 9-14 59.

Halftime_Loyola of Chicago 34-31. 3-Point Goals_Loyola of Chicago 6-12 (Jackson 3-3, Ingram 3-7, Custer 0-1, Avery 0-1), Florida 2-19 (Chiozza 1-3, Allen 1-5, Stone 0-1, Ballard 0-2, Koulechov 0-3, Hudson 0-5). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Loyola of Chicago 29 (Krutwig, Ingram 8), Florida 32 (Koulechov 9). Assists_Loyola of Chicago 14 (Krutwig, Satterwhite, Custer 3), Florida 7 (Chiozza 4). Total Fouls_Loyola of Chicago 12, Florida 14.


  1. A week ago this Gator team was one of the most promising in the country, a sure bet final four some were saying, now they have done a 180, one of the most disappointing/frustrating/confused teams in the country. Why is K. Allen not starting, smells like a discipline problem. Chiozza is playing like Kasey Hill, dribbles into trouble, takes ill advised shots. It’s more than just ice cold shooting, no interior offense, transition defense stinks, defense as a whole stinks. Something happened the week after the Duke game, something internal, a discipline problem of sorts. Mike White has his work cut out for him.

  2. Something certainly happened, there is no way they could have gone from the team that should have beaten Duke and the way they played in Portland to the team that lost these last two games at home. Totally confusing

  3. No, Kevin, Chiozza is not playing like Kasey Hill. He may be trying to play like Hill, but he is no Hill. Hill could dribble and penetrate and play D, Chiozza cannot. And, he tries one legged runners and throw up hookshots. On defense, he can’t guard your grandma.
    Part of it is coaching. No coach in America except this one, switches on everything and leaves a guard like Chiozza on a post who posts him and scores. And, no coach in America would allow a fat, slow big like Loyola’s to dominate.
    This coach can’t coach or recruit. Gets no one from Florida and FL is one of the top 5 fertile areas for recruiting in America.
    And, no coach except ours could get outcoached by Porter Moser. Who you say? Porter Moser, who once was an assistant for the well known Tony Barone. Who? Tony Barone.
    Our AD says his biggest mistake in the first 100 days of his regime was reupping McElvain. His 2nd biggest mistake was reupping this guy, White.

    • Kasey Hill sucked, was one of the most overrated players ever to wear a Gator uniform, I guess we got too excited with the way the season started, hammering 3 high school teams at home, then backing it up on the road by knocking off Stanford, Gonzaga and nearly Duke. Amazing how every perimeter shooter has gone cold. Mike White needs to recruit big men with offensive skills, something the Gators haven’t had for a long time.

      • Or, learn to coach the posts. This coach can’t recruit bigs or littles in the state. And, he is not getting the best out of state either.
        Yes, we made it to the elite 8 last year on a lucky shot. And, defensively Casey Hill and Robinson could play. And, Leon could defend a little. And, we had Egonu inside. This is not the same team.
        And, yes we started hot from the 3 point line early against poor teams. But, career wise, Allen and Chiozza have never been great shooters and neither has Hudson. And, Egor was good at Rice but the SEC is not Rice and it is beginning to show. First one down fires away. And, often the rebounder brings it down and fires it, if it is Egor or Hudson. 5 gunners don’t make a team and that is what we have.
        And, you are a fool. Kasey Hill was All SEC defender but he was recruited by Billy D who knew a guard when he saw one.

        • Kasey Hill was a walking turnover. His assist to turnover ratio was no where near as good as Chiozza’s plus he was a poor shooter – bad at 3’s and free throw’s. He was quick and an excellent defender but a huge liability offensively. He could get to the rim due to his quickness however he often would miss a layup once he got there or turn the ball over. Your just upset because we’re losing. Our main problem is the 4 guard offense which is how a guard like Chiozza gets isolated down low and scored on and Coach White is to blame for not making adjustments and shelving it because it’s killing us. Billy D would have already made the adjustments!

        • and what NBA team is Kasey Hill playing for now? I can guarantee you not many Gator fans miss him, and in case you forgot, Egbunu missed the NCAA tournament last year, and his return will bring very little to the offensive side of the court, except for an occasional dunk and rebound.

        • Kasey Hill was a walking turnover. His assist to turnover ratio was no where near as good as Chiozza’s plus he was a poor shooter – bad at 3’s and free throw’s. He was quick and an excellent defender but a huge liability offensively. He could get to the rim due to his quickness however he often would miss a layup once he got there or turn the ball over. Your just upset because we’re losing. Our main problem is the 4 guard offense which is how a guard like Chiozza gets isolated down low and scored on and Coach White is to blame for not making adjustments and shelving it because it’s killing us. Billy D would have already made the adjustments!

  4. Gatorlover1996 why don’t you stick your head into a bucket of cold water and cool off. Mike White was one of the final 8 teams in last years basketball playoffs. He has mostly the same players that defended well and added some shooters to this years team. He said they were weak on defense and it shows. Defense can be learned but good shooting is a gift. Calm down, they’ll figure it out.

        • Exactly…this is hoops not football. Anyone who watched Gonzaga and Duke knew that we wpuld live and die by the 3 until the bigs are healthy in January. Kansas just got beat by UDub in KC. December is not the month to panic.

      • You must’ve missed Arizona’s fall from grace two weeks ago. Our team seems to be having the same issues. They’re just badly missing strength inside, and Hayes and Gak may be good defenders without the heavy minutes. Hopefully Egbunu’s return and i’m hoping Stokes plays this year, they’ll have a stronger and deeper frontline. Until then, the Gators are going to have to get back to the passing and moving offense, and good help defense that got them through Portland. Without that, it’s going to be a tough December for them.

  5. Another pathetic offensive showing. Also on defense, giving up a number of easy baskets. I was hoping to watch our basketball team to forget the fiasco that was our football season. It looks like we may be seeing the beginning of another fiasco. Really disappointed in Allen and Koulechov. They couldn’t hit the ocean if they were standing in it.

  6. Another poor performance by the coaches and players. Mike White continues to show that he cannot make adjustments when necessary. Same problem last year. Need to learn how to develop players. White is another over paid coach.

  7. You are right, Sam. Mike White cannot coach. Defensively, his continual switches allow the opponent to get a big inside against a small guy. Offensively, he makes no adjustments and doesn’t know how to coach the posts if he even plays one. Cannot recruit the state of Florida, leaving FSU to clean up on those left after UK and Duke raid the elite.
    Chiozza played like he was lost. Egor is horrible on d. You name it and this team has problems. Major problems.

    • So Mike White doesn’t know how to “coach the posts”? I beg to differ. He’s getting the most out of what we have for bigs, and will get better when we get Egbunu back. The other positions need to collapse when a team gets it inside on our D. From what I’m reading, Whites’ recruiting is going well. You’re too quick to throw White under the bus.

  8. Nobody mentions the fact that kevarius hayes averages less than 5 points and 5 rebounds as our starting Center.He gets manhandled in the paint,turns the ball over way to much and can’t grab a loose ball to save his life. Coach white takes kevaughn and Hudson out of the starting line up even though they are both 2 of the best players in the conference and as a result they end up both shooting 3 of 11 from the field. You have no problem starting hayes after he scored 3 points and 2 rebounds and 3 turnovers against FSU in 22 mins. Gak had 4 rebounds in just 7 mins of play. Im really starting to think hayes is on drugs because I’ve never seen a player fall off this badly. Mike white needs to stop acting like players are going to become tough over night and stop destroying their confidence

  9. That lost belongs to White. There are some games you don’t play. In football Coach mac made the same mistake scheduling Michigan. Florida plays the SEC and FSU. Didn’t need Michigan with hte losses on defense.
    Coach White should have never schedule teams from the MVC. The Valley is one of the best mid-majors. To play them two days after FSU was ridiculous. What’s wrong with a cupcake here? Not sleeping giant who has a reason to wake up.
    But one thing, like the Michigan football game, Loyola showed your team’s weaknesses like turning on the kitchen light at 3 AM and seeing the roaches and palmetto bugs scurrying around.

    • It’s amazing that a Gator fan is blaming the schedule. UF has a reputation for being scared to play anyone, as seen when they dropped Miami in football. The best teams aren’t afraid to play anyone, but it seems there’s still a significant percentage of Gator fans that are just wimps. They continue to whine and cry about schedules, refs, injuries, etc. It’s not like the SEC schedule, especially the East, is so daunting that you can’t play a tough out of conference foe not named FSU. Michigan was the first non-cupcake game UF has played in decades, when you don’t count FSU and Miami. The last time UF played someone was Syracuse, when Spurrier was coach, and they were taken to the woodshed. Instead of whining, grow some … and figure out how to beat a team like Michigan. It’s embarassing to have fans, like yourself, who always make excuses and whine about playing a good team.

  10. This was not an upset. We were outplayed in this game and the last one. Where were all you naysayers the first 5 games? Now you’re BB experts? Same coach same team. While there seems something really changed after the Duke game, you can’t coach heart. Evidently we don’t have a really aggressive BIG. Hayes blocked a couple of shots but isn’t a difference maker in the post. Lots of ill-advised passes and shots by everyone. They must have started reading about themselves too much. Time to back it up. Hopefully they toughen up before they play Cinncy.

  11. ”We’ve got guys who have gotten a lot of accolades, scored a lot of points that are struggling to put it in the basket right now and their other deficiencies are glaring, none of which are very surprising at all to my staff.”
    ~Coach Mike White.
    So, for some of the commenters here to say Coach White ”can’t coach”, well, his comment (above) says differently! And when the Gators were rolling the 1st 5 games, nobody commenting here was saying, ”…this team sux and is deceptively good!” The Gators will regroup, and hopefully learn from this, and get much better. You don’t nearly beat the NUMBER 1 TEAM IN AMERICA, Duke, and then suddenly forget how to coach and play basketball (as some have irrationally implied here). Nope! Doesn’t happen! GO GATORS!

  12. The world is falling Gator fans are out in full force again. Mike White I hope you can handle the ridiculous expectations better than Mac could, cause you’re just starting your 3rd season after being in the elite 8 with a team absolutely no one expected to be there, but are now being ripped apart and told you can’t coach worth a damn cause your team has gone cold shooting and somehow that’s your fault. Good luck Dan Mullen, you better score 100 pts a game right out of the gate or you’re next. I wonder if Bill Self is being bashed by the Kansas fans after his #2 Jayhawks were just beaten pretty badly by 140th ranked Washington? Nah only Gator fans are that ridiculous being this is college basketball and teams can lose 10 games in the regular season and still make a run in the tournament. But don’t tell that to Gator fans, they lose it over every single loss. How dare you go cold for a couple of games, Gator fans expect perfection every single second of the day. It’s absolutely shocking how delusional this fan base has become.

  13. Love the coach, but he can’t play for them. What I saw the last 2 games (not 3), was a team that is playing with about half the energy as the start of the season. We just out hustled the first five teams we played, and almost Duke. I do think we must be doing too many tip drills for the bigs, because they put their hands on the rebounds, but never come down with one, just tip it away. What’s with that? Grab it and go! This team has it in them, we saw it during 5-0. I do agree we are missing alot of really great Florida talent (Sean Mobley). Nothing that a couple of really good NCAA runs wouldn’t cure.

  14. Well one issue is they keep shooting too many 3s when those shots either aren’t falling, or well defended. I think they are 7 of 44 (+\-) from the 3 point line the last two games…to keep shooting that shot when it’s obviously not falling is insane. At least drive the basket and try to draw contact for a foul. Lack of D is an entirely different rant. White will figure it out though.

  15. Not quite sure what the deal is. Defensively they are getting beat. Given the fact the Gators lack an inside game their only option is to run a fast break offense and stop relying on 3 pointers. Instead they allow their opponents to dictate the pace and settle into a half court offense where they’re forced to shoot from the perimeter. And when you’re shooting poorly beyond the arc as Florida has the last two games it only results in losses.

    • When did Gak play great last year? When he made a couple dunks in the tourney games? Hayes absolutely needs to play better but that’s on him. Coach White is putting him in the positions to succeed and he’s softer than Charmin’ when it comes time to fight for a rebound inside.

  16. This is a very talented team and you do not win or lose championships now. Koulechov, Allen, and Hudson need to start shooting better and the team clearly needs Egbunu in the middle to be a stopper down low and grab defensive rebounds. This team will be there in March.

  17. Wow, Mike White loses two games, only one of which is a pretty bad loss, and a supposed “GatorLover” is ready to throw him under the bus? Some Gator fan you are. This team needed these last 2 losses. It needed to learn early that it is fully capable of going ice cold from the 3 point line, and when it does, it needs to find another way to win. Far, far, far better time to learn it now vs FSU and Loyola-Chicago then to learn it as a 3 or 4 seed vs a stingy mid-major in round 1. So the key is how we respond. Someone, anyone, needs to step up as a vocal leader on the floor. That’s who Mike White was in college, and he’s frustrated that he doesn’t have that leader on his team right now. Allen and Chiozza are often praised for their “quiet leadership” and that’s fine, but sometimes you need an upperclassman, not a coach, to yell at a guy like Ballard for taking a bad shot, or Okauru for not coming hard off a screen. Unfortunately I don’t think Egbunu will bring that when he comes back either. Sounds like Hudson is frustrated as heck, so maybe he’s the guy to do it. Not sure, but that’s what this team needs more than anything right now.

  18. Lot of me first transfers brought in like Egor and Hudson.

    They are very talented but care more about getting their shots then helping the team win.
    You really need to build your team with recruits not 1 year transfers who have no bye in
    to the team first mentality.

    Right now it seems Cheese and Allan have to force shots since they know Egor and Hudson are going to jack up shots if they don’t take them.

    Really need to focus on better team ball on both ends or coach should play some of these talented recruits who have more size and will hustle on both ends of the floor.

  19. Actually, the decline began prior to the Duke loss. Gators played horribly at home against a weak New Hampshire team, barely pulling out the win. Then, blew a big lead against Duke.
    If defense is the problem and it is one of them, look at some film and see if any other team in America has their bigs switching on man defense. The answer is no, other teams’ bigs don’t come out, they stay inside and other teams’ guards and wings, fight through screens. White teaches switches on everything, which leaves smaller guards against bigs and gets them posted inside. Happened repeatedly last year too.
    Stone should never be out on the floor guarding someone but he is. Coaches like Krueger, Rupp, Wooden, Sloan, and others would cringe to see the defensive principles of White. And, no, recruiting will never get better until he gets someone who can recruit FL and stops people like Kevin Knox from leaving the state. Or, Joel Berry Jr. or the big from Bartow who went to UNC. Or, Bacon from Lakeland who Leonard corralled. White has no assistants with FL ties either. Rumor is that they don’t even try to recruit FL kids, the just concede that they can’t get them. Why? Best university in the state and one of highest ranked academically in the nation, and we can’t get kids to come for free? Come on. We cannot continue to let FSU control Tampa and Polk County in hoops as they have in football.
    As for leadership, the leader last year was Kasey Hill and some of you didn’t appreciate him. All Defense SEC and he would get the ball inside.

  20. Kasey Hill Sucked, Goes down as one of the biggest turn over machines in college basketball history, how many times did he drive the lane and flail up his arms attempting to make a layup, only to go off his knee or out of bounds, him and Ervin Walker with his 30 foot bombs at the end of the shot clock, still give me nightmares. These teams for some reason loose confidence as a unit, and it just snowballs, plus no beef down deep, watched Villanova this past week, they beat us by 30.

  21. Gators problem? Playing ‘hood’ street ball. They started playing ‘hood’ ball in the second half against Duke and blew a 17 point lead. One pass shots, uncontrolled drives, wild “hey look at me” throw up prayer shots. Throw in invisible big men and you’ve got the Gators. Won’t win until they get back to a disciplined style of play.