That was a beating.
Sure, we were shorthanded. But Florida walked into our gym and killed this game off by halftime.
We made a couple of small runs... but the Gators always had the perfect response.
Let’s break it down.
Florida came out firing. The Gators hit 10 first half threes, many of which were completely uncontested.
By contrast, we were missing our three best shooters (Hogg, Gilder, and Wilson) and as a result Florida’s defensive possessions were almost comically compact. It was something we couldn’t reconcile, which was frustrating given that it was an obvious tactic with our personnel limitations.
The end result was a first half blitz that would have been even worse without the early efforts of Jay Jay Chandler (12 first half points).
Halftime Score: Florida 46, Texas A&M 30
A Poor Defensive Effort
The offensive impact of our missing starters was glaring, yet it somehow paled in comparison to some of the defensive possessions we submitted today. Time and time again, Florida passed through our defense at will and created uncontested shots. And perhaps for the first time all year, we faced an opponent that knocked them down.
I understand that Gilder is our best defensive stopper, and I understand that Hogg’s defensive improvement has been an underrated part of our early run... but some of these defensive lapses were effort-based. I think that’s the toughest part to swallow for an Aggie Hoops supporter.
There’s no discussion of the gameflow for the second half, here... because it really didn’t exist. The lead never dipped below double digits, and then after a while everybody went home.
Final Score: Florida 83, Texas A&M 66
Individual Player Notes
Despite the overall issues, there were some individual positives to take away from this
First, JJ Caldwell (9 points, 7 assists) played his best game to date, and was instrumental (with three assists leading to two threes and a dunk) in the run that threatened to pull us back into the game.
The handles + dish combo from A&M's J.J. Caldwell is pretty special. pic.twitter.com/aM16UWLyAU— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) January 3, 2018
While we’re on the topic of ‘best game to date,’ Jay Jay Chandler (17 points; 7-11 FG, 3-4 3PT) was consistently our most aggressive player on the floor today. You don’t always get numbers like this from Chandler, but he never cheats you on effort. He put it in a ton hard minutes for us tonight, many of which occurred with the game out of reach.
And finally... the big guys. Williams (12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Davis (12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) battled constant defensive attention in an insanely cramped paint, yet they still managed solid stat lines. However, we might be seeing the end of the Tonny Trocha era. With these recent efforts, I don’t see how he keeps this role once the squad is back to full strength.
Next up is LSU on Saturday at Reed Arena. Hogg’s suspension is over, and Wilson’s injury (currently day-to-day) is likely to be cleared by then, as well. Their return should surely be enough to see this squad improve to 1-2 in conference play.