Despite Colin Castleton’s 22-point performance and an 11-point first-half lead, the Gators fell to the Oklahoma Sooners (9-3) on Tuesday night in the Jumpman Invitational matchup.
They fall to 7-4 on the year.
The Gators started the contest hot on both ends of the court on the backs of Colin Castleton and Trey Bonham.
It started early when Castleton drew a foul on a lob attempt on the first possession of the contest from Kyle Lofton. After splitting the free throws on his trip to the charity stripe, Castleton got back on defense and was on the bottom end of a ball screen at the top of the key from his man Tanner Groves.
The guard handed the ball to Groves, forcing Castleton to step up and play the talented scorer beyond the three-point arc.
However, as the give-and-go happened and Groves looked to make a move, Bonham pickpocketed the Sooners’ big man and took the ball back in the opposite direction. He finished at the rim to give Florida a 3-0 lead and kickstarted the duo’s production as they evenly combined for 20 points at the half and aided a unit shooting at just a 33% clip to the halftime lead.
It also set the tone for the early intensity and energy the Gators played with on each end of the court, attacking the board, playing active defense and getting out in transition for easy rim twos on the opposite end.
The fast-paced style of play showcased the tempo Golden was expected to bring to Gainesville as they built an 11-point first-half lead.
But, it didn’t last.
Scroll to Continue
With the momentum swinging in the Sooners’ favor nearing the end of the first half, as they cut Florida’s double-digit lead to two heading into the locker room, the Gators looked to answer with a similar performance as the first 16 minutes.
That wasn’t the case.
Instead, the two teams traded blows for the majority of the second half. Porter Moser’s squad retook its first lead since the 6-5 mark with 16:13 remaining after a Jacob Groves corner three found the bottom of the net. Lofton quickly answered with a layup on the opposite end to tie it back up.
From there, the offensive production slowed, with each having to earn tough buckets the rest of the way. Florida scored just 22 points in the second half as a result.
The battle of the bigs, which was expected to be a deciding factor in the contest, was won by Castleton, scoring 22 points and holding Groves to 13.
Unfortunately for Florida, the difference rested in their inability to shoot the ball from distance, knocking down just 9.5% of their shot attempts from downtown. Oklahoma, on the other hand, connected on seven, with four coming from leading scorer Grant Sherfield.
He led the unit with 20 points on the evening, including a massive finish at the rim off the dribble on Castleton with just over two minutes remaining. That gave the Sooners the ability to fend off UF down the stretch.
The Gators fall to 1-3 against power six opponents this season. They will head to The Plains to take on the Auburn Tigers to begin league play on Dec. 28.
Stay tuned to All Gators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @AllGatorsOnFN on Twitter and All Gators on FanNation-Sports Illustrated on Facebook.
Get your Gators football, basketball and other sporting events tickets from SI Tickets here.
The Sky Sports F1 Podcast is your one-stop shop to stay across all the biggest stories in Formula One; Download and subscri
CBS rights portfolio includes NFL, NCAA and Uefa Champions League Broadcaster wants to deliver new experiences
USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinCHECK BACK FOR UPDATESBASEBALLDivision 1 sectionalsHortonville 10, De Pere 0Hortonville 10, Appleton North 2De Pere 5, Kimberly 3PULA
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) -Legalized sports betting in North Carolina is getting closer to being a reality. There is one vote left before a bill goes to the Governor