Three observations following Florida’s 77-72 loss to South Carolina at the O’Connell Center.
— Though the Gators outscored South Carolina 28-20 in the paint, Florida missed some early finishes around the basket that proved costly late — including layups by Kevarrius Hayes and KeVaughn Allen and a short hook from Gorjok Gak that spinned out. Credit redshirt freshman forward Dontay Bassett, though, for stepping up inside with 9 points, 1 rebound and 1 blocked shot. Bassett has been playing better in practice lately and will continue to be needed off the bench until senior center John Egbunu returns.
— It was an up-and-down game for junior guard KeVaughn Allen, who needed 15 shots to get to 15 points and also had four of UF’s 12 turnovers. The 6-foot-2 Allen is getting better looks with the emergence of Jalen Hudson and Egor Koulechov on the perimeter and is taking more shots, but is 9 of 29 over his last two games. Simply put, Allen needs to make shots at a higher percentage in order for Florida to become a more dynamic offense.
— White said the reason why junior forward Keith Stone wasn’t more of a factor against South Carolina was due to the scouting report. “That’s on me,” White said. “He had only one post touch. Our plan was to attack South Carolina from the perimeter.” Still, Stone could have been a little more active on the glass in an effort to generate his own offense. In 22 minutes, the 6-8 Stone had just 2 points and 2 rebounds, both defensive, while going 1 of 3 from the floor and 0 of 2 from 3-point range.
I agree with your article, Kevin, every point. Even Coach White takes some of the blame with the game plan regarding Stone (”That’s on me.”), and I respect that.
I’ve noticed while listening to the local sports talk shows, watching posts, etc.. it seems that John Egbunu has a mystique building (about his play) that isn’t fair to him. I’ll acknowledge that John Egbunu was a beast on the defensive side, but Egbunu’s offensive play wasn’t a great deal better than Hayes’ play early last season (before he got he hurt). So I hope Egbunu’s been practicing his jump shots, and foul shots. Because he’s getting an unfair expectation from some of the Florida fan base (an Egbunu mystique is building). Lastly, Bassett needs to continue to get better, because Florida needs him! Last night was Bassett’s best game of his short career, thus far. And it came on a night when the other 2 bigs (Hayes and Stone) were totally nonexistent. If only all 3 bigs could put it all together in a game, and consistently!
1. UF shot 26% from beyond the arc while USC shot 52%. The difference between this game and the Kentucky game is that Gators played great defense when the shots weren’t falling in the Kentucky game.
2. Also need to get Hayes about 28 mins/game. He only got 21 min. Can’t be afraid to play him when he picks up quick fouls. Got to roll the dice because his presence on the court makes his teammates better. Wish ESPN would track +/- stats for college games like for NBA games. I suspect Hayes would carry a pretty high +/- stat relative to the others who are taking his minutes.