Billy Donovan has never seen his offense play worse, but the Gators still won.
Florida defeated Auburn 45-40 Thursday night in a game that was far from an offensive shootout. One thing that was offensive was the play of both teams.
The scoring performance by the Gators is the lowest total ever by a Donovan led Florida team. The previous low was a 46 point total put up against Michigan State in a 2003 NCAA tournament game.
A large reason for the underwhelming score was the team’s output from three. The Gators went 5-26 from beyond the ark in the contest. However, they were able to make the ones that mattered.
Down 40-37 with 1:53 left in the game Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker hit back-to-back threes to give the Gators the momentum and the lead. Walker added two free throws to put away the game for Florida. The win takes the Gators to a 14-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC play.
It was a close game throughout in which both teams looked uneager to win. Neither team was able to grab more than a six point lead. Shooting was atrocious all around. The Gators hit 28.3% of their shots, while Auburn was able to make 37.5% of their attempts. What made things worse was that both teams did not appear to be rushing shots. Each squad had several great looks that missed its target by miles.
The Gators were led on offense by Erving Walker with 12 points, while Kenny Boynton added 9. Florida’s defense had a strong night overall winning the battle of the boards 34-27. However the tandem down low of Vernon Macklin and Patrick Young only added a total of 8 points and looked less affective than usual.
Kenny Gabriel and Earnest Ross led the Tigers offensive charge scoring 12 and 11 points respectively.
Florida is beginning to develop a pattern to how they play their games of late that is rather risky. The Gators start games with a demanding presence, but quickly allow the other team to dictate the tempo of the game.
Florida essentially appeared to play down to the level of an Auburn team that they are far superior to. This may be an explanation for several of their losses and close calls this season.
ESPN’s crew of announcer considered Auburn’s play a success throughout the game. The Tigers 24 points in the first half was six better than their season average before the intermission.
This team can flat out play better, and they will need to. The combined record of their next four opponents is 38-20. The Gators next match will be at home on Saturday versus Arkansas.
About the Author
Written by John Weidner
My name is John Weidner, and I am a Communications major at the University of North Florida. I have always had a talent for writing and communicating ideas in unique ways to others. Right now, I am learning more about how to cover and discuss different topics and ideas in the world of journalism. I consider myself a sports journalist but also am interested in covering anything that is newsworthy. I have been gaining experience as a journalist since I first joined the staff of my high school newspaper in tenth grade. I have written for numerous publications including: The Florida Times-Union, The Falcon Flyer, The UNF Spinnaker, La Plaza Magazine ,Jacksonville.com and The Ponte Vedra Recorder. I am also working on gaining other non-traditional forms of experience through different ways and am open to any opportunity that can be used as a learning experience.