Beyond the arc: 3 takeaways from UF’s 71-69 loss to Clemson


Three observations following UF’s 71-69 loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl Classic:

— For as bad as Florida played defensively down the stretch, the Gators still could have pulled off a win against Clemson with better offensive possessions in crunch time. Florida coach Mike White credited Clemson’s ball screen defense late, but the Gators had a near shot clock violation on a KeVaughn Allen heave with 40 seconds left and settled for too many perimeter shots instead of trying to get the ball inside or drive and get fouled. The Gators scored just five points in the final 7:08, which isn’t going to cut it against SEC opponents.

— One reason why Florida didn’t play as well defensively in the second half was due to playing away from its bench. Florida coach Mike White was able to direct traffic in the first half and the defensive positioning helped the Gators hold Clemson to 33 points in the first 20 minutes.  But because Florida is a quiet team on the court, the Gators were unable to help each other with positioning in the second half. That led to more fouling in the second half, which led to Clemson scoring 38 points in the final 20 minutes of the comeback win.

— Florida picked an inopportune time to have its worst free-throw shooting effort of the season. The Gators, who came into the game an SEC best 77 percent from the free-throw line, were 9 of 17 against the Tigers. The main culprits were Jalen Hudson (5-9) and Gorjok Gak (1-4), who both left points out there. Gak played hard with 3 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes but needs to do improve at the line to be counted on in the post. Clemson outscored UF 32-24 in the paint.




  1. The “near shot clock violation” at the end was on White. The posession began with over a minute left, and only a one-point lead. We acted like we do at the end of a half, took the pedal off the gas, held it like we were holding for the last shot, with forty seconds left! White had a miniscule lead with lots of time left, but decided it was time to play not to lose, and you know what happens when you play not to lose.

    • Right on Steve. I couldn’t understand that possession either. They held the ball for 33 seconds and then took a terrible shot. I can understand doing that when you are up two possessions but not one point. To me that was the game. They also need to learn to guard without fouling. In fairness though they have no low post game. I am not sure that will improve with Egbunu back either unless his offensive skill set has improved since last year a lot. I will say they seem to have picked up the defensive intensity as far as double teaming the other teams low post guys. They are a small team so that’s just how it is. I thought the refs missed a bunch of fouls when the Gators such as Egor had position and Clemson’s big guys came over their backs. Bottom line right now they are a pretty one dimensional team. If they shoot it well they win, if they don’t they lose.

  2. White’s white shirts and solid ties have to go. This team’s problem has to be dissension and attitude — just has to be. Otherwise, I don’t see how a Div. 1 college team could have this many sissies. At this time, they unarguably should have one loss and be ranked in the Top 10. This fan’s predictions? They will be in the NIT in March and one of Nembhard or Locke will de-commit.

      • Mikey, you’re a jealous ‘Nole or Dawg to be sure with that vituperative verbiage.
        ”In over his head”? An Elite 8 appearance in only Mike White’s 2nd year as Head Coach at U.F., a Final Four appearance in the N.I.T. in his 1st year as Florida’s Head Coach (and with the same team that Billy ‘D’ couldn’t even make the NCAA Tournament with in his last year at U.F.) So, while all opinions and comments are welcome in a free speech country like ours, perhaps you could cut back on the mawkish, false gesticulations!

  3. Too much one on one dribbling. The ball should move more to provide easier opportunities. Whites rotations need to improve. He has the wrong combinations at crunch time. Paint points are non-existent. Players are thinking too much instead of instinctive flow with the offense. That’s coaching. Players are still soft. Hayes in particular. Weak hands in the paint.

  4. FSU gave every team the blue print for beating us. Hayes is not good enough to command any type of defensive attention. The screens are not successful because our opponents can cheat on the ball handler because they do not need to worry about the roll. They can over-commit on the slip screen and not even cover the roll. If Hayes gets the ball then they can recover. If one of our guards gets in the lane they have no outlet so they are stuck. The issues are all from lack of inside presence on both ends. I’m not saying that Egbunu will solve everything but he can’t hurt. Shooting 70% from 3-point range hides all issues but we aren’t doing that anymore.

    Plus Mike White is definitely playing not to lose. When your guards are being covered like blankets, and the perimeter screens are being jumped every time the answer would be to dump it inside for an easy score. The other option is to gain a step on the defender, make the bigs commit and dump for an easy score. When those options don’t exist, you try to hold on. White is a good coach but in basketball it’s about the players. One weak link is 20% of the team on the court. No coach can hide that.

  5. Typical Gator fans! Bitch, Bitch! Bitch! Mike White is a good coach. He will get it right! Unless you have been a Gator fan for 50 years, you have no right to complain! I have seen the worst and the best. Take a break and enjoy the holidays!