BASKETBALL

Florida basketball: 3 takeaways from Florida's 67-56 win over LSU in Baton Rouge

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Jan 10, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Florida Gators guard Will Richard (5) steals the ball from LSU Tigers guard Trae Hannibal (0) during the first half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Florida overcame a cold shooting night with exceptional defense and pulled away late to beat LSU 67-56 Tuesday night at the Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The Gators (9-7, 2-2 SEC) won their second straight. Down 36-34 early in the second half, Florida took control of the game with a 7-0 run, going up 41-36 on a Myreon Jones' 3-pointer with 13:28 remaining. The Gators maintained the lead for the rest of the game.

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K.J. Williams led LSU (12-4, 1-3 SEC) with 23 points, but took 20 shots, as Florida contested the 6-foot-10 center both inside and beyond the 3-point line throughout the game.

Neither team could get going from the perimeter. Florida shot 20 percent (5 of 25) from 3-point range while LSU shot 17.9 percent (5 of 28).

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Florida wins with points off the turnovers

The Gators generated 23 points off 15 LSU turnovers, which was crucial to the outcome of the game. Will Richard had three of Florida's 10 steals, the most for the Gators in a game since recording 11 steals against Florida A&M on Nov. 30.

Jones scored seven of his eight points off turnovers, including a transition 3-pointer that put the Gators up 41-36 early in the second half. Alex Fudge also came up with a big putback layup off an LSU turnover to put Florida up 52-46 with 6:22 left.

Another big night for Colin Castleton

For the second straight game, Castleton filled the stat sheet for Florida with a team-high 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. The 6-11, 250-pound Castleton scored 11 of Florida's final 13 points to help the Gators close out the game. Castleton is averaging 14.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 blocks over his last three games.

The Gators cash in at the free-throw line

Florida was able to get in the bonus midway through the second half and the double-bonus with 4:37 remaining and made LSU pay, going 24 of 32 from the foul line.

Castleton led the way, going 12 of 15 from the foul line, making several big ones down the stretch. Swingman Kowacie Reeves (11 points) also went 4 for 4 from the line.

Florida was the aggressor most of the night, shooting 32 free throws to LSU's 16. That helped the Gators overcome a 39.6 percent shooting night from the field.