Gators have to work to score on Buckeyes

The Florida Gator basketball team has seen their share of very good defenses in 2016.  Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Gators when they have the ball when facing the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the NIT Tournament on Sunday.  Without John Egbunu inside to get points, things are going to be tougher for the Gators.

Florida Gators (20-14) vs Ohio State Buckeyes (22-13)

Sunday March 20, 2016; Noon

Columbus, Ohio; Value City Arena


Offense hasn’t come easy for this bunch of Gators, but it has been on the rise for the last few weeks of the season. In the first round game against UNF, Florida went crazy from the three-point line and that might not be a bad idea against the Buckeyes.

Florida head coach Mike White talked Friday about what stands out about Ohio State.

“Defensively, just how solid they are,” He said. “They switch 1 through 4 on the ball, off the ball. They sit in the stance. They’re big and long. They’re fifth in the country in blocking shots. Their two-point percentage defense is really good. We’ll have to find ways to score.

Without sophomore center John Egbunu, the Gators aren’t particularly adept with their back to the basket anyway. The three-point flurry Tuesday is something they would like to see again, but they have been anything but consistent from beyond the mark there.  This is where freshman guard KeVaughn Allen, sophomore forward Devin Robinson, and senior forward need to step up their game for this match.


Florida Projected Starters

Ht. / Wt.



F Kevarrius Hayes

6-9, 210



F Dorian Finney-Smith (SR)

6-8, 220



F Devin Robinson

6-8, 195



G KeVaughn Allen (FR)

6-2, 183



G Kasey Hill (JR)

6-1, 180




OSU Projected Starters




F Mickey Mitchell (FR)

6-7, 225



F Marc Loving (JR)

6-7, 220



F Keita Bates-Diop (SO)

6-7, 235



C Trevor Thompson(SO)

6-11, 250



G Jaquan Lyle (FR)

6-5, 210


The play of Kasey Hill in the last 3-4 games has been something they can build off of as well. The Gators really need some perimeter work in this contest, although a lot of Hill’s game is driving to the basket and with the ball swatters OSU has inside that will be more difficult.

The Buckeyes have some offensive talent too and have three starters averaging double figure scoring.

“Mickey Mitchell is a freshman that is very talented getting it to the rim,” White said. “He’s a strong tough lefty. Keita Bates-Diop has had a good season and was sick in the last game, but we anticipate him playing. He’s very talented, very long. Trevor Thompson, Daniel Giddens, and David Bell are three 6-10ish guys that can all run, jump, and alter shots, block shots and finish around and above the rim. They have some size in the backcourt with guys like Lyle Loving at 6-5 and 6-7 who at times are playing the one and two. It’s a big lineup which is one of the reasons they are so good defending the paint and so good with two-point percentage defense.”

 Of course playing away from home is another obstacle for the Gators. On an opponent’s floor, the Gators are just 5-8 on the season. They are going to have to dig deep in this one if they want to make it to the round of eight next week.

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