Three observations following UF’s 65-59 loss to Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday night at the O’Connell Center:
— Florida point guard Chris Chiozza did some good, and some bad down the stretch. Chiozza hit a driving layup to cut Loyola-Chicago’s lead to 61-59 and forced a tie up that gave Florida a chance to hit a tying basket with 35.6 seconds left. But with a shade over a minute remaining and Florida down 61-59, Chiozza had an open path to the basket where he could have at least gotten fouled, but instead dished to the wing to guard Jalen Hudson, who missed a semi-contested 3-point attempt. “We need to learn to get to the rim,” Florida coach Mike White said. “We need to learn to get fouled more.”
— Florida junior center Kevarrius Hayes remains missing in action. Hayes’ defense has regressed, as evidenced by allowing Loyola-Chicago big man Cameron Krutwig to burn him inside for 14 points and 8 rebounds. Offensively, Hayes provided little, going 2 of 6 from the floor with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 3 turnovers. The controversial tip-in that was waved off that could have tied the game late may have been a bad call, but given the situation, Hayes may have been better served to secure the rebound and go back up for the easy dunk. White said he asked crew chief Joe Lindsay about the call, “He said he had a good look,” White said. “I asked if it could be reviewed. He said it couldn’t.”
— Florida needs to find a way to get the ball moving again. The Gators had just 7 assists for the second straight game and continued to try to create too much off the dribble. Florida is not the greatest driving team and took some wild shots as evidenced by some of the individual shooting percentages — Egor Koulechov went 3 of 13 from the floor, Jalen Hudson went 3 of 11 from the floor and KeVaughn Allen went 3 of 11. When 3-pointers aren’t falling, Florida needs to move the ball better and take better 2s.
”When 3-pointers aren’t falling, Florida needs to move the ball better and take better 2s.” Truly, Kevin!
Great passing, and creating off the bounce is crucial for any team, especially one like Florida. And cutting to the basket, instead of standing around watching, will give the ball handler more choices. ”Come on Gators…”
We started the season on a shooting tear and raised expectations. Everything changed at the second half of the Duke game. It hasn’t been the same since. Finesse will only take you so far.
Some of it is our scheme and playing a smaller lineup. We need to find more diversity in our offense when the outside shots don’t fall. That means having a stronger post presence.
It’s not just Hayes, who is a good player but a little light to be a dominating center. Gak has to step his game up, every time out. Same with our power forwards. The team is not playing well when we go big.
I like some of the bigger lineups Coach White has put on the floor. They need more game minutes to get the offense flowing better from outside in. With a little diversity in the offense it will be harder for teams to prepare to play us.
Hayes simply cannot play center. The roster has him listed as a Forward at 6-9 225 lb. If we are going to play Forward out of position, then at least try Stokes. He is listed at 6-8 270 lb. He might not be any better but he is a least a bigger body that would clog up the middle and not get muscled around so easily
Stokes, like Egbunu, is rehabbing a torn ACL and won’t be available until January.
This team probably is not as good, right now, as they showed in Portland. That is obvious. I do believe that Egbunu will help immensely and help this team make it to the rim. His presence will make defenders a step slower to rotate. Loyola played a ton of 3-2 zone and teams have started to zone us. We have nobody on the inside to keep the back two guys honest. They are over-rotating and getting out on the shooters. We have no down-low outlet for an easy 1-on-1 match up. Part of the reason Cheeze passed the ball out to Hudson was there was no big guy to dump it off to close to the basket.
Just the fact that Cheeze had a wide open lane shows the lack of respect for our interior play. We must get tougher! However, it does not help that our guys have to bang on bigs all night long and our opponents get to play on-ball defense and get banged down low very little. The down low screens take their toll on players throughout a game and we set weak screens around the basket.
We are going to see the 3-2 zone until we prove we can beat it without shooting lights out.