Florida didn’t have the chance to compete in final season’s NCAA males’s basketball event, because of the pandemic, nevertheless it made essentially the most of its first likelihood in March Insanity this season with a 75-70 win in time beyond regulation towards Virginia Tech.
The No. 7-seed Gators (15-9) got here into their South area matchup with the No. 10-seed Hokies (15-7) having misplaced three of their previous 4 video games. UF coach Mike White’s squad got here in by no means having misplaced its first sport in a NCAA event throughout White’s tenure. And the latter development held up Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Florida advancing to the following spherical to face both No. 2 seed Ohio State or No. 15 seed Oral Roberts.
“An awesome win for us,” White mentioned. “Made it a bit of bit extra fascinating than we wanted to, in fact. Confirmed large resilience to bounce again and discover a option to win in time beyond regulation after giving up that lead there within the final minute with out … Tyree Appleby … Omar Payne, in fact. This crew simply continues to indicate character. Nobody’s been via what they’ve been via.”
Florida’s Colin Castleton mentioned his mindset as he and his teammates trailed and encountered different points, was simply that he wasn’t going to lose that sport. He added they don’t need to head again to Florida simply but. When the Gators weren’t capable of shut out the sport in regulation, his coaches stored telling them that they had been nonetheless going to win the sport.
Neither Florida nor Virginia Tech managed the ball nicely throughout the primary 20 minutes, the Gators turning it over 9 instances and the Hokies eight. It stored either side from undertaking a lot offensively earlier than the break, regardless of each taking pictures an equivalent 52.2 p.c (12-for-23) from the sphere in that point.
However the Hokies took higher benefit of the Gators’ miscues, scoring eight factors off of turnovers to UF’s 4. Virginia Tech hit 5 3s to Florida’s two. And whereas the 2 sides matched free-throw percentages within the first 20 minutes, the Hokies had taken eight to the Gators’ two and made 4 in comparison with one.
It’s what allowed Virginia Tech to steer for greater than quarter-hour, and Florida not even a full minute. The Hokies’ Hunter Cattoor led all scorers after the primary half with 9 factors, as he hit a trio of 3s, and he was solely averaging 8.4 factors per sport to this point this season. The Gators’ main scorer thus far this season and at that time within the sport, Tre Mann, had essentially the most turnovers of any participant on the ground within the first half with three.
Turnovers continued to be a difficulty within the second half, however not sufficient to maintain Florida from successful. Virginia Tech wasn’t capable of hit 3s within the second half and time beyond regulation because it was within the first half.
Mann got here into the competition towards Virginia Tech having scored no less than 21 factors every sport in his previous 4 appearances, and 30 towards Tennessee final week. He was Florida’s most prolific scorer this season, and one in every of its only 3-point shooters. Towards the Hokies, although, Mann fell again to only below the 16-point per sport common he got here in with, and with out time beyond regulation he would solely have 11 factors.
Mann completed with 14 factors, one in every of 4 Gators to complete in double figures scoring. He was 5-for-9 taking pictures from the sphere and 1-for-2 from the free-throw line.
It was Colin Castleton whose play did extra to permit Florida to advance. He completed with a 19-point, 14-rebound double-double. It was simply his second double-double all season, the primary coming in January towards Ole Miss. It’s his most factors in a sport since he had 21 in late January towards West Virginia.
“Previous couple video games, I wasn’t actually rebounding to my normal,” mentioned Castleton, who performed an element in holding Virginia Tech main scorer Keve Aluma to only seven factors. “Coaches discuss approximately it, and I do know what I’ve received to deliver day by day. If I don’t then it doesn’t look good on myself … and the crew. So, I spotted that I needed to do higher on the rebounding half. That simply comes with aggressiveness, enjoying at a excessive motor, simply wanting it greater than the opposite crew. So, having the ability to simply understand that and get that mindset again going … It’s win or go residence proper now, so that you’ve received to go away all of it out on the road.”
The Gators dominated the rebounding battle.