Some observations following UF’s 69-67 loss to Miami:
— Walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz put in yeoman’s work for Florida, finishing with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 36 minutes. This is where Florida sophomore Chris Walker’s selfish decision to violate team rules and get suspended hurt the most. Had Walker been available for even a few minutes off the bench to spell a walk-on not accustomed to playing major minutes, it would have helped keep the Gators from melting down in the second half.
— For as hot as Angel Rodriguez was late for Miami, Florida lost the game by failing to come up with a defensive rebound off a Rodriguez miss with 38 seconds left. Down 67-65, Rodriguez got a second chance and made a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left that ultimately won the game. With UF’s best rebounder, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, out, the Hurrcianes outrebounded the Gators 27-24. “That loose ball was a big play because when they shoot 70 percent from (3-point range in the second half) there’s not a lot of rebounds to get,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “That was a big play, the one where we couldn’t come down with the ball.”
— Donovan said he felt the Gators got stagnant during some offensive stretches in the second half. Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he made some adjustments on UF’s ball-screen offense that he felt finally worked mid-way stretch that resulted in a 14-1 Miami run. Michael Frazier missed three striaght jumpers during the Miami run, and freshman point guard Chris Chiozza had a turnover. UF’s lack of a low post could prove costly in crunch time, but the Gators need to find a way to attack the rim more consistently during those cold stretches and get to the foul line.