Some observations following Florida’s 77-72 win over Ole Miss at the O’Connell Center.
— Florida coach Mike White credited Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy for employing a mix of defenses to deny the basketball to senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith. Still, it would have been nice to see Finney-Smith demand the ball more late in the game, instead of having the Gators settle for long-range shots from Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill. Finney-Smith finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds on 6 of 11 shooting, but failed to score in the final 4:20 of the game. Still, credit Finney-Smith for coming up with a big defensive play, blocking a shot by Ole Miss center Sebastian Saiz with 1:45 left and the Gators clinging to a 67-66 lead.
— In earlier home wins against LSU and Mississippi State, Florida was clutch from a free-throw line down the stretch. But the Gators were a little more shaky from the line in crunch time on Tuesday. Center John Egbunu missed on a front end of a one-and-one with 2:42 left, Hill failed to convert a free-throw on a 3-point line and even steady freshman KeVaughn Allen missed two of four free throws in the final two minutes. Florida still made enough plays to win but will need to do a better job from the line in the future to close out games.
— Credit center John Egbunu for battling on the boards, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season (the Gators are 4-0 in those games). But Egbunu still needs to do a better job handling and passing the ball out of double teams. The 6-foot-11 Nigerian native had 4 of UF’s 16 turnovers.