Florida’s aforementioned shooting problems are certainly frustrating, but they aren’t exactly anything new. The offensive side has been this team’s limiting factor all season, but the saving grace has been the defense. It was a brick wall of a unit earlier in the season, but the cracks in that wall are starting to show now that we’ve reached conference play.
UF gave up 80 points for the first time this season in Wednesday night’s loss to Alabama, and it did so again this time around. Guard K.D. Johnson absolutely went off, leading the team with 23 points on 7 of 13 shooting. The only other starter in double figures was forward Jabari Smith, who scored 13 points, but the Tigers got a lot of production from their bench.
Thirty-five points, to be exact. Much of that legwork was done by forward Jaylin Williams (14 points) and guard Wendell Green Jr. (13 points). On the whole, Auburn shot 53.6% from the field and was even more lights out in the second half, hitting 57.1% of its shots. The team was even pushing 50% from the three-point line, hitting 8 of 18 attempts.
If there was one bright spot for Florida’s defense, it was the fact that it forced 16 turnovers. While that resulted in 22 points for the Gators, it was partially mitigated by UF’s own 12 turnovers which resulted in 13 Tigers points. Florida’s lockdown defense from the early part of the season seems to be gone, and if the team can’t find a way to bring it back, it’s going to be a long couple of months of SEC competition.