December 6, 2017
That’s three straight losses for the Gators. This one really hurt.
AT THE BUZZER
LOYOLA 65, No. 5 FLORIDA 59
WHAT HAPPENED: For the second time in 72 hours, the Gators were out-shot and overmatched down low, and once again it cost them dearly, this time with a frustrating home loss to Loyola Chicago Wednesday night at Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center. The Gators dug themselves a deep hole early, falling behind by 13 in the first half behind poor shooting, while the Ramblers came out red hot in hitting 10 of their first 13 field-goal tries. UF clawed back, and even took a short-lived one-point lead in the second half, before Loyola answered with an 8-2 run and went up for good. The Gators had two chances in the final minute to tie or take the lead, but Jalen Hudson missed a 3-pointer and KeVaughn Allen‘s driving layup attempt, spun out, with center Kevarrius Hayes‘ tip-in waved off for basket interference. From there, Loyola backup guard Cameron Satterwhite hit four free throws inside the final 16 seconds to put the game away. The Ramblers shot 52 percent for the game, including 6-for-12 from the 3-point line, while scoring 34 points in the paint The Gators shot 36.9 from the floor and went 2-for-19 from deep, posting near-identical numbers to Monday night’s home blowout loss against Florida State.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators, after opening the season with five wins, including that thriller over Gonzaga, have now dropped three straight and have played 90 consecutive minutes (the last 10 against Duke in the PK80, all 40 versus Florida State two nights earlier, and now this) of mostly dreadful basketball. It’s early in the season, but Mike White, his staff and his players would appear to be at something of a crossroads as to what they intend to make of this season.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ramblers forward Aundre Jackson came into the game shooting 66.7 percent from the floor — and improved on that number. Jackson, who last year led the Missouri Valley Conference in field-goal percentage and finished fourth nationally, hit 10 of his 12 shots, including all three from the 3-point line, and finished with 23 points.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: UF came home from the PK80 in Oregon shooting 46 percent from the 3-point line as a team. In the two games since, the Gators are 8-for-44 combined. That’s 18.2 percent.
STAGGERING STATISTIC 2: Florida had no players score in double figures. Point guard Chris Chiozza finished with nine points.
UP NEXT: Florida (5-3) will have a severe challenge Saturday night in Newark, N.J., site of its date against No. 17 Cincinnati (7-1) in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center. The Bearcats are known for their physicality and probably will be smelling blood. The game will be the front end of a double-header — with Virginia Commonwealth and Seton Hall in the nightcap that will benefit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund in support of the education of children of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.