Gators Lose First of the Season

Heading into the season, the Florida basketball team's main weakness was their lack of size inside, and that weakness was exposed in their first loss of the season on Monday night. Despite a game-high 24 points from Alex Tyus, the Gators were outrebounded 40-30 in an 89-83 loss to the Syracuse Orange.

Just like in their loss against Southern Utah, Florida started slow from the outside and made just 7-of-23 shots from behind the arc. The Gators shot just 46 percent from the floor and made just 61.5 percent of their field goals.

Tyus was the bright note on the night, grabbing four rebounds to go with his career high 24. He was able to find the openings in the Syracuse defense, which switched from a man-to-man to their traditional 2-3 zone throughout the game.

Nick Calathes scored 19, while dishing out eight assists. Freshman Erving Walker was the only other Gator to score in double figures, netting 13 points, including three from 3-point range.

Florida got off to a sluggish start, scoring just seven points in the game's first six and a half minutes. The Orange were able to jump to an early seven-point lead and were able to maintain a workable margin for almost the entire way.

The Gators put together a small run midway through the first half by turning up the defense. The Gators got 12 fast break points over a four minute span, taking a 26-24 lead with 6:34 left in the opening period. Allan Chaney scored five and Ray Shipman scored four during a 19-10 run. But Florida couldn't stop the hot shooting from Andy Rautins who knocked down five 3s in the first half.

The Orange built the lead back to five points, 31-26, and held a three-point edge at the half, 41-38.

Syracuse jumped out to a quick 12-point lead to start the second half, and Florida could never make a run. The Gators were able to get within four points with less than two minutes left after some poor free throw shooting by the Orange.

The Gators had a chance to cut into the four-point lead with a minute left to play, but Walker missed a runner and Calathes missed a 3. Syracuse made 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Florida will await the loser of the Kansas/Washington game and will be back in action on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

Dan Werner scored eight points and made 4-of-8 shots, he also played well defensively, including a key steal and jumper with eight minutes left that cut into Syracuse's lead. Shipman scored four, making just 1-of-7 shots from the floor.

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