After 20 minutes in the O'Dome, Florida Gulf Coast led Florida by a 33-32 count. After 40, though, the Gators had constricted the Eagles, and owned a 70-50 win.
Dorian Finney-Smith had a season-high 23 points, and added six rebounds, two assists and three steals, and John Egbunu posted his first double-double as a Gator, with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks. The Gators' formidable frontcourt made up for another forgettable performance by Florida's guards, who combined to make six of 30 shots on the evening.
But Florida's defense played well after intermission, dropping the Eagles' shooting percentage to under 35 percent from the floor. And the pressure from Mike White's defense forced 18 turnovers from FGCU, three times as many as the mere six that Florida had, and enough to fuel offense throughout the second period.
Florida probably can't afford to shoot as poorly as it did on this night against teams better than the Eagles, but it can't lose too many games in which it only allows 50 points. And while the Gators look like they might continue to throw up rocks, they also seem well-equipped to win rock fights, thanks to their rugged defense.