Three observations following Florida’s 81-60 win Saturday over Baylor at the O’Connell Center:
— It’s easy to pile on Florida junior center Kevarrius Hayes for his offensive shortcomings. But Hayes continued to excel at protecting the rim this season, blocking five shots against Baylor. It’s the third time this season the 6-foot-9, Live Oak native has blocked five shots in a game (Nov. 19 against New Hampshire and Jan. 2 against Texas A&M were the others). Hayes moved into second in the SEC in blocked shots (2.3 per game) with his big performance. The Gators are 4-0 when Hayes blocked four or more shots in a game and 7-2 when Hayes blocks three or more shots.
— Sophomore center Gorjok Gak and redshirt freshman forward Dontay Bassett both gave the Gators decent minutes off the bench in the post. The 6-11 Gak had a pretty bounce pass along the baseline for an assist to Keith Stone in the first half and finished with two points and the assist in nine minutes. Bassett was fouled going for a defensive rebound in the second half and had a point and two rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
— Baylor had 11 offensive rebounds, but Florida didn’t let the boards impact its second-shot defense. The Gators were only outscored 8-5 in second-chance points. Florida is going to get outrebounded on most nights due to size mismatches (Baylor outrebounded the Gators 38-30), but the key for Florida is not to allow easy putback baskets off offensive rebounds and remain mentally focused guarding opposing second-chance offensive possessions.