Beyond The Arc: 3 takeaways from Florida’s loss at Ole Miss

Mississippi's Bruce Stevens (12) is defended by Florida's Keith Stone (25) during a college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

Three observations from Florida’s 78-72 loss at Ole Miss:

— It was an off game defensively for Florida junior center Kevarrius Hayes, who was either fouling or flopping inside in 15 minutes on the floor. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Hayes needs to learn he’s not going to get those calls on the road. Ole Miss outscored Florida 32-22 in the paint, and both Hayes and Keith Stone needed to play better one-on-one defense inside to match the physicality of their opponents.

— Freshman guard Mike Okauru had another strong game off the bench with 9 points, 1 rebound and 1 turnover in 15 minutes. Okauru continues to show good decision-making with the ball with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4 to 1 in SEC play.

— A tell-tale sign of Florida’s lack of energy at Ole Miss, the Gators scored a season-low 5 points off turnovers Saturday. Ole Miss meanwhile scored 15 points off 10 turnovers. The Gators are at their best when they are disruptive defensively, but a lack of depth combined with playing for the third time on the road in the last four games may have caught up to them.


Deandre Burnett, A Miami transfer, contributed 20 points,¬†six assists and two rebounds to Ole Miss’s cause vs. Florida on Saturday.

“It’s very big being from Florida and beating a team like Florida,” Burnett said. “I felt great. The win helped me pushed through. My teammates behind me and us staying together just got us a real gutsy win down the stretch.”


  1. UF missed too many open 3’s and layups while Ole Miss got hot in the second half.

    Should have given Hayes more than 15 minutes despite his struggles. He got around 30 min each game during the winning streak. I know Stone was playing well but I feel the winning formula is both Stone and Hayes log about 30 min each.

    • Hayes would have altered more shots if he had gotten more minutes and the rebounding margin might have been more even. We shouldn’t be losing the rebounding battle (35 – 44) against a smaller line up similar in size to ours when we have been out rebounding bigger teams.

    • How many more minutes can you give a guy in foul trouble? Hayes is THE key to this defense, until Egbunu is back and healthy. When he shows up and gives 30 strong minutes, the Gators are a FAR better team. I agree 100% with Kevin. Hayes was AWFUL and was a big reason why we lost.

  2. I don’t think Hayes is physically capable of 30 minutes, and in this game, would’ve fouled out well before then anyway. Agree that flopping on D over and over hoping for a charge wasn’t working, better to stand in there and hold your ground(though yesterday it would’ve gotten HIM a foul doing so). We just need more bigs who are real men, otherwise we can’t win when not shooting well.

  3. ”Arkansas had it in its mind to go inside early and the Razorbacks did and did so often. The Razorbacks would outscore the Mizzou Tigers 20-4 in the paint in the first half.” ~Brent Hull (Razorback writer).
    And so now Florida’s bigs need a gut-check, and need to ”find themselves”, yet again. Otherwise, with all the Gator big men’s injuries (as Coach White said there’s not nearly enough to practice with), things could get ugly for this team. So, ”Come on Gators, get up and go!” P.S.-Basset needs to ”grow up” and quickly! We need him!

  4. Many times I’ve thought about how good Chiozza would be now had he been starting the last two years — which he should have been! If we ever see the likes of Hill and Walker again, it would likely cause immediate vomiting. May as well sideline Eg and Stokes until next year — don’t think Egbunu would leave for the pros unless some team in Turkey, for example, entices him. Also, as of now, there are no bigs coming in next year. If this team is lucky, they’ll get in the Dance and win one game — again, that is if they’re lucky.

  5. Just for a chuckle today: Apparently a large W. Virginia newspaper (unnamed) has gotten evidence that W. Virginia senior star, Jevon Carter, is actually 31 — not 22, as reported, but 31! Seems like he’s been on that team since 2010. Look at this guy, he’s not 22.

  6. How long until Egbunu returns? Best be by early February at the latest. Otherwise, this team might not make it to the Big Dance. Everything is in place except a presence in the middle on defense and rebounding. Gators continually outscored in the paint. At 6-9 and 225 pounds Hayes does not have the size/strength for the post position. Possibly a No. 4 player or even 3. I know he tries to play the 5, but he is being outmuscled by bigger and stronger big men. White knows it to. Hopefully, he is waiting to insure Egbunu is ready and he’s not going to waste him at this point in the season.–at least I hope that’s his thinking.