Beyond the arc: 3 takeaways from UF’s 66-62 win over Texas A&M


Some observations following Florida’s 66-62 win over Texas A&M:

— Florida coach Billy Donovan brought junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith off the bench for the second straight game. And while Finney-Smith sparked the offense with 10 first-half points, he wasn’t as much of a factor in the second half due to foul trouble. Finney-Smith finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals before fouling out with 1:40 left. “He was up and down tonight,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “The fouls took him out of the game tonight and he didn’t really have one of his better games.”

— While Florida sophomore point guard Kasey Hill has been much-maligned this season due to his lack of scoring and poor free throw shooting, one area Hill has excelled is setting up other teammates. Hill had 8 assists to 1 turnover against Texas A&M and has averaged 6.7 assists over his last six games. Hill’s best assist was a pretty bounce pass inside that Devin Robinson finished for a layup to put Florida up 39-31 midway through the second half.

— While 18 missed free throws (20-38 from the line, 52.4 percent) contributed to UF’s 16-point second half game whittling down to 4 points at the buzzer, Donovan pointed to a few other plays that hurt the Gators, mentioning freshman point guard Chris Chiozza’s lob to sophomore center Chris Walker on the break that failed to convert. “It was a home run play, a high risk, low reward play,” Donovan said. Another play that hurt the Gators was when, with Florida up 59-47 and 1:46 left, Eli Carter had an in-bounds pass stolen by Texas A&M point guard Alex Caruso. The possession ended with Caruso drawing Finney-Smith’s fifth foul and completing a three-point play to cut UF’s lead to 59-50. “Those plays really change the momentum of the game and then it became a free-throw shooting contest,” Donovan said.