Texas Southern won the opening tip, and that was about it.
From an opening 9-0 run all the way to the 75-50 final score, Florida had its Friday night game in hand with not a worry to look back on.
It felt a bit like a glorified scrimmage — a boring one — but with five players scoring in double digits, that's the kind of offensive output you want to see. Jon Horford (10), Dorian Finney-Smith (11), Michael Frazier II (11), Chris Walker (12) and Devin Robinson (15, a career high) were the five Gators in double figures, and when you combine those numbers with Kasey Hill's seven assists, you have to like what you see.
And Florida's diverse offensive flow came without Eli Carter (six points) contributing as much as he will in the future, logging just 14 minutes in this one.
Robinson played well, shooting 5-for-7 from the field, 2-for-3 from downtown, and 3-for-3 at the charity stripe. He rolled his ankle late in the game, but walked off under his own power, so it doesn't appear to be anything serious. It was a very good night for the rising freshman.
I would, however, like to take a moment to recognize the Sultan of Sky (I just made that up, it's terrible, I know), Chris Walker. Walker ended the game with those 12 points after eight in the first half, but more importantly, he had four blocks. It's clear that Jon Horford will be the Gators' offensive presence down low, such as he is. But if there ever came a point where Florida could have a starting rotation with both Horford and Walker in, the Gators would have the size to not only generate points down low, but also, and perhaps more importantly, create a solid defensive presence in the paint that would allow the guards to solely focus on perimeter pressure, rather than chasing down penetrating guards.
If I had to nitpick a certain area of the Gators' game, it would be that going into the half, Florida had just two attempts from the free throw line (both and-one attempts). The Gators were certainly dictating the game however they wanted to that point, but going down the stretch, it's very important to find a guy who can drive the lane and get to the stripe. This does a few beneficial things for a team. It can contain negative momentum and can also control leads. We've see this Florida team struggle with maintaining big leads after good offensive series because when shots aren't falling, they can't seem to control the game in multiple fashions. But, again, that's if I'm getting picky.
As I looked back to the stats, I thought I'd see a much bigger difference in the turnover and steals categories. Florida only committed 12 turnovers to TSU's 16, but the steals were even at seven apiece. It was sloppy and lackadaisical second half for Florida, but TSU just didn't have the players to make them pay for it. The Gators weren't as tight with their passing, but that's treated differently in a game you're dominating by 25, and has a chance to lead to stuff like this:
The win moves Florida to 5-4 on the season (above .500!), and 4-1 at home. Up next, they'll host Jacksonville University on Sunday.