The Gators hung with Ohio State for 20 minutes, but the Buckeyes took over the second half, defeating Florida 93-75.
No. 5 Ohio State (2-0) took advantage of their size in the backcourt, plus a dominant game from freshman Jared Sullinger. He had 27 points, 10 rebounds and made 13/17 shots, as he ate up No. 9 Florida (1-1) inside. At no point could Alex Tyus or Vernon Macklin slow down Sullinger.
UF played well for most of the game, and outrebounded OSU 26-17. But the Gators turned the ball over 18 times, compared to 8 for the Bucks. Both teams shot 60%, but OSU had 13 more shot attempts. As Florida lost their first half lead, the Gators allowed Ohio State scores when they beat the press and UF followed with ineffective possessions in the second half. OSU also shutdown Chandler Parsons, who scored 13 points, but only took six shots. Parsons' efficiency is nice, but he is the most dynamic scorer for UF. He needs more shots.
Florida's defense is what ultimately did them in. OSU's size and passing skill allowed them to break the press, leading to high percentage shots. On half court sets, Ohio State was able to rotate the ball, getting Florida out of position. At various points of the second half, Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Patric Young were all caught out of position, leading to allowing open buckets. In addition to Sullinger, guard David Lighty scored 26. OSU's other starting guards, Jon Diebler and William Buford also scored in double digits.
Boynton scored 21, Walker scored 15, but each of them had problems they had last season. Boynton does not have the defense to match his offensive game. If he was a better passer, Billy Donovan could use him at the point. Instead, Walker has to be the point, despite his seven turnovers tonight.
The takeaway from tonight's loss is that Ohio State is really good, and Florida might just be good. The Buckeyes have NBA prospects, while UF has guys who were told not to go pro. If anything, you should be pleased Florida stayed with Ohio State for 30 minutes. The true value of this game won't be realized until late in the season, when the experience of playing a very athletic team in game two helps Florida clinch an NCAA bid.
Florida's next game is Thursday against North Carolina A&T.