Is there a more frustrating team to watch than No. 24 Florida?
The Gators have impressive wins at Georgia and Tennessee, both of which came in overtime. They also lost to Jacksonville, Central Florida, and played one of the ugliest games I have ever seen in a 45-40 win at Auburn.
Today, ugly Florida was the team that showed up.
The Gators went into Starkville as the first place team in the SEC East, sitting pretty at 5-1 in league play. They left with a loss, getting a combined 8-28 performance from Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker as Mississippi State rode four players — literally, only Kodi Augustus, Ravern Johnson, Dee Bost, and Renardo Sidney scored — to a 71-64 win.
I wish I had some new insight on what ails the Gators, but I don’t. The Gators don’t play all that much defense, which is a problem since the Gators are so inconsistent offensively. But offensive inconsistency is what you expect from a team that starts two shoot-first “point guards”. Case in point — while Boynton and Walker were shooting 8-28 from the floor, Erik Murphy, Alex Tyus, and Vernon Macklin were shooting 9-14 from the field.
Until Florida learns that their offense needs to utilize the versatility of Chandler Parsons and play from the inside out, this team is going to continue to perplex.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.