Florida manhandles Boston College for easy win
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — There would be no such slow start from the Gators on Thursday night after UF started sluggishly Wednesday.
Less than 36 hours after rallying late in the season-opening victory over Army, the Florida men’s basketball team improved to 2-0 with a 90-70 win over Boston College to cap the team’s brief tenure in Bubbleville at the Mohegan Sun casino and resort.
Keyontae Johnson and Tre Mann combined for 29 points in the first half, matching the output of the Eagles’ entire team, as UF built a 20-point advantage by the midpoint.
Florida would lead by as many as 31 points and the outcome never looked to be in jeopardy in the final 20 minutes.
“Defensively, we played harder and played with more discipline, played with more pop on the defensive end. Our attention to detail, our buy-in to get stops was higher than it was yesterday,” Gators coach Mike White said. “We grew today, we got better today, and that’s the biggest thing.”
Johnson finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Mann, the Gainesville native and former five-star prospect now in charge of UF’s offense, poured in 17 points while helping the Gators push the pace once again after scoring a career-high 19 points in the season-opener.
After scoring just seven points in a team-high 31 minutes against Army, starting shooting guard Noah Locke helped spark Florida with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Scottie Lewis added 14 points and five rebounds, but it was his defensive prowess that made the difference for UF; Lewis finished with a game-high 29 plus/minus in a game-high 32 minutes.
UF will look to remain unbeaten Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Gators take on Stetson University in Florida’s home opener.
What we learned
If his career-high of 19 points against Army wasn’t enough evidence,Tre Mann’s second game as UF’s starting point guard further signified the sophomore has significantly elevated his play this season.
Mann would finish the game with 17 points, with 15 points coming in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting. He would connect on both attempts from long-range as well, leading White to praise him — though the fifth-year UF head coach noted his play wasn’t surprising to those who’ve witnessed Mann’s preparation.
“For two games, he’s been pretty good. Obviously for people that hadn’t seen him a lot, get a lot more opportunity, you know in the practice settings that we get to evaluate and witness, it may come as a surprise,” White said, “but it’s just not a surprise to our staff.”
The preface was necessary for White, because he doesn’t think Mann’s scratched the surface when it comes to his potential on the court.
“His ceiling is very high. He’s learning every day, he’s absorbing from the staff, in particular coach (Jordan) Mincy and coach (Darris Nichols) who are former point guards themselves, they do a really good job with our guards,” White said of Mann. “He’s got a ways to go with leading and directing, and moving onto the next play, and really leading both offensively and defensively, and he’s got a chance to be a really good player.”
Balanced scoring attack
It wasn’t just Mann either — UF’s offense had one of its more balanced outings in recent memory.
Florida had at least five players score in double digits for the first time since Jan. 4, 2020, in a contest where UF needed two overtime periods against Alabama to accomplish the feat.
White, who was critical of Florida’s tendency to settle for low-percentage shots in the prior contest, said Thursday’s showing was an improvement in that regard, and it showed in the stat sheet.
“Offensively, I thought we were more in character in terms of searching for the right shot,” White said. “Our shot selection wasn’t perfect at all, but it was better. We executed for each other at a higher level.”
Florida wins frontcourt battle
For a variety of reasons, the Gators have lacked a physical presence in the post in recent years. That may no longer be the case after the Gators handled the Eagles in the low post.
Florida outscored Boston College by 24 points in the paint, out-rebounded the Eagles, 35-30, and recorded six blocks to the opposition’s two.
Michigan transfer Colin Castleton and sophomore Scottie Lewis led the way with two blocks apiece, with center Omar Payne and freshman Niels Lane rounding out the swats for the Gators.
“It’s very helpful for us. Through the past years, we haven’t had bigs like that, since I’ve been here, that can finish, and create their own shots, and pass outside of the post, outside of Kerry Blackshear,” UF forward Keyontae Johnson said of the frontcourt. “I think they’re a big part for us, they extend the floor. Colin can shoot and he’s a great passer out of the post, Omar’s more athletic than him and can dunk, and he helps us with the block on defense. I feel they both bring two different things to the table.”
Florida 90, Boston College 70
Florida 49 41 — 90
Boston College 29 41 — 70
BOSTON COLLEGE (1-3)
Felder 3-7 4-6 11, Mitchell 2-5 3-6 8, Ashton-Langford 2-8 4-7 8, Heath 1-5 3-4 5, Tabbs 5-9 0-0 12, Kelly 4-8 2-4 13, Langford 2-4 2-2 6, Karnik 3-6 0-0 7, Vander Baan 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 18-29 70.
Castleton 1-3 1-1 3, Johnson 10-13 2-2 24, Lewis 4-6 5-8 14, Locke 5-12 0-0 12, Mann 6-9 3-3 17, Appleby 2-5 2-2 6, Payne 5-6 0-0 10, Duruji 1-6 0-0 2, Lane 1-1 0-0 2, Glover 0-0 0-0 0, Ruzhentsev 0-1 0-0 0, Jitoboh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-62 13-16 90.
Halftime_Florida 49-29. 3-Point Goals_Boston College 8-24 (Kelly 3-4, Tabbs 2-3, Felder 1-3, Karnik 1-3, Mitchell 1-4, Langford 0-1, Williams 0-1, Heath 0-2, Ashton-Langford 0-3), Florida 7-17 (Mann 2-2, Johnson 2-3, Locke 2-7, Lewis 1-1, Appleby 0-1, Ruzhentsev 0-1, Duruji 0-2). Rebounds_Boston College 26 (Karnik 6), Florida 30 (Johnson 12). Assists_Boston College 11 (Heath 3), Florida 13 (Mann 6). Total Fouls_Boston College 18, Florida 23.
Who: Stetson (0-1) vs. Florida (2-0)
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: O'Connell Center
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 103.7-FM, 98.1-FM