Florida Gators have no answer for Purdue Boilermakers

After falling behind early, Florida tried to claw its way back but couldn’t against a physical Purdue team.

Every time the Gators made a run, Purdue (5-0) answered with one of their own. The Boilermakers eventually ran away for good over the final nine minutes to finish off an 85-70 win over Florida (3-1).

John Egbunu made a layup to cut the Purdue lead to 63-60 with 8:54 left to play. The Gators made only just one field goal -- another layup by Egbunu -- over the next 7:31. The Boilermakers closed the game on a 22-10 run that iced the game.

“A lot of it had to do with Purdue just being damn good,” Florida coach Mike White said on the postgame radio show. “They are very good offensively. They had a good night. We had 5-6 defensive possessions that were near stops where they just hit tough shots. It was a combination of playing a really good team, and we have deficiencies we need to work on.”

At the end of the day, Purdue simply shot the ball better than Florida. The Boilermakers shot the ball better from the field, the three-point line and the free throw line. Add in their decisive rebounding advantage at 43-34, and it was too much for the Gators to overcome.

Backup point guard P.J. Thompson gave Purdue 15 points off the bench after scoring just two points on Saturday against Old Dominion. Purdue’s half-court offense was crisp, and they had two seven-footers to throw the ball to when they needed a basket.

Florida center John Egbunu needed to have a big game for the Gators to stay in the game, and he provided 19 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block. He stayed out of foul trouble and was an important part of the Florida effort.

“He’s got some stuff we have to clean up with ball screen defense,” White said. “We knew those (Purdue) bigs were going to get a certain amount of work done and do some damage, draw fouls and hit contested jump hooks. We knew some of that was coming. It led to other guys getting going from three, and then you’ve got that going in addition to those bigs and how talented they are. It was just too much to overcome.”

Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal. Freshman guard KeVaughn Allen had a career high with 12 points. The Gators had seven turnovers, five under their previous season low.

Florida returns home to face Vermont on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

“We’ll watch a lot of film, more film than our guys care to watch,” White said. “We’re going to make use of the hours allowable by the NCAA, and I’m going to use every minute of it. We’ve just got to get better. We have potential, and that’s the scary word, but that potential isn’t going to get us anything. It’s about getting better and taking advantage of this process.

“(Wednesday’s game) is another opportunity. It’s always nice to be home in Gainesville in front of the Rowdies and be in the O’Dome back in that warm weather.”

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