Chiozza: No time to panic for Gators

Florida guard Chris Chiozza attempts a lay up as Florida State guard M.J. Walker defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Ron Irby)

Florida senior point guard Chris Chiozza said it’s not time to panic — yet.

The Gators (6-4) have lost four of five games and are coming off a 71-69 loss to Clemson on Saturday at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise. The loss knocked the Gators out of the Top 25 for the first time since Dec. 21, 2016, nearly a one-year span.

“You can never get too panicked about a situation,” Chiozza said. “It could always be worse. We could be 2-8 right now. We’re just trying to do our best every day and just go out there, play as hard as we can every day and let the chips fall where they may. We want to win every game. Everybody loses some. We’re upset with ourselves, but it’s already in the past. We’re moving on to the next game.”

Florida started the season 5-0 before falling 87-84 to No. 1 Duke in the finals of the PK80 Tournament in Portland, Ore., a loss that exposed UF’s flaws in post offense, post defense and running halfcourt offense down the stretch. The Gators are in the process of trying to fix those issues before SEC play begins Dec. 30 against Vanderbilt. That process will continue on Wednesday night when Florida faces James Madison (7 p.m., SEC Network) at the O’Connell Center.

The Gators do have a pair of quality non-conference wins on the resume against No. 12 Gonzaga and No. 20 Cincinnati, but those quality wins have been off-set somewhat by losses to Loyala-Chicago, Florida State and Clemson.

“We’re pretty close,” Chiozza said. “Like I said, we have times where we’ve shown we can be elite on both ends of the court. We just have to find a way to keep that up the whole game.”