On Tuesday night, Florida measured up against one of the more accomplished teams in college basketball this season — and found itself more than a little short. The Gators fell, 66-55, to the Hurricanes in Miami, and never led in the game.
Florida cut Miami's lead to 25-24 with an 8-2 run near the end of the first half, but the Hurricanes answered with an 8-0 run into halftime.
And it only got worse from there. Miami led by at least five points throughout the second period, as the Gators struggled to make shots, especially from behind the arc: Dorian Finney-Smith's three with 12:30 to play in the first half was Florida's only three on the night.
John Egbunu had 14 points and five rebounds for Florida, Finney-Smith scored 12 points, and Devin Robinson added 12 points, six rebounds, and a pair of impressive slams, but the Gators had no answer for the potent backcourt of Sheldon McClellan, who poured in 24 points on just 12 shots, and Angel Rodriguez, who had 17 of his own. The duo's 18 points from distance more than covered the difference in the game.
That's troubling for Florida, which has little beyond its frontcourt to recommend it on offense at the moment. The Gators slowed Miami to a pace that made 66 points possible, but were largely unable to do anything consistently, even inside, and gave up enough shots to get shot down.
That's a recipe for another disappointing loss on Saturday, when the Gators travel to Michigan State. And though Florida has only fallen to two teams with legitimate Final Four aspirations so far, the Gators' inability to make either of those games truly close will rankle fans who will finally be turning their attentions from gridiron to hardwood.