Night Court: Florida begins to show its potential against Kansas
Florida got out to a big lead in the first half against Kansas, and then held off some late runs from the Jayhawks.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Tuesday …
It’s time to start looking at what Florida might be in a couple months. The Gators finally had something resembling a full team on Tuesday, getting point guards Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill back from ankle sprains. And it showed in a variety of ways, as the Gators got out to a 15-point halftime lead en route to a six-point victory against the Jayhawks.
Wilbekin in particular was fantastic, going for 18 points, six assists and four steals -- and giving Florida some leadership and late-clock options. Leading scorer Casey Prather was held in check by Andrew Wiggins, hitting only one field goal, but he got to the free-throw line 12 times and finished with 12 points. Pat Young and Dorian Finney-Smith combined for 27 points and 13 rebounds up front.
Billy Donovan used a 1-3-1 zone that just annihilated Kansas in the first half, eventually forcing the Jayhawks into 24 turnovers. Florida was able to score inside, outside and in transition -- and its defense was outstanding. There’s one more piece to be added to the puzzle – and elite freshman Chris Walker could start practicing with the team this weekend.
On the other side, Kansas dropped its second in a row after also losing to Colorado over the weekend. Wiggins, though, was as good as he has been all season. In addition to neutralizing Prather, he scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also hit four 3-pointers and was his usual sensational self in transition. Unfortunately, he was the only one doing much of anything for the Jayhawks. Frank Mason and Naadir Tharpe couldn’t get Kansas into its offense, and Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis never going going down low.
It doesn’t get any easier for Bill Self’s troops, as Kansas faces New Mexico and Georgetown in its next two games. Florida has Memphis in New York City next week.
What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Kentucky stifles Boise State in easier-than-expected 70-55 win.
Boise State came in as the nation's highest-scoring team, while Kentucky was coming off a loss to Baylor. But the Wildcats size and defensive ability eventually wore down the Broncos, holding them to 31.9 percent shooting en route to a 15-point win. Kentucky dominated the glass and also blocked 10 shots -- led by Willie Cauley-Stein's nine. James Young had 21 points and nine boards to lead the way offensively, while Julius Randle got back on his double-double streak with 17 points and 11 boards.
Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic finished with a combined 32 points, but Boise State forced too many shots, especially in the second half. Marks was 6-for-18 after missing some time in the first half with foul trouble, while Drmic was just 7-for-22 from the field.
That's a good win: Gonzaga goes on the road and pulls out an 80-76 win over West Virginia.
Gonzaga had to travel across the country to face West Virginia -- and the Mountaineers didn't welcome their guests very nicely. They led by double-digits at times, and even had an eight-point lead with 8:23 remaining. But the Bulldogs then went on an 18-2 run to take an eight-point lead with 2:25 left -- and they held off a late West Virginia push to get the solid road victory. Gonzaga was led by Przemek Karnowski's 19 points and 13 boards, although Kevin Pangos' three consecutive 3-pointers in a two-minute span late in the game changed the game. West Virginia's perimeter group of Eron Harris, Terry Henderson and Juwan Staten combined for 55 points in the loss.
Players of impact
Chattanooga's Z. Mason had four points on nine shots last time out -- on Tuesday, Mason scored 41 points on 20 shots, and also grabbed 12 rebounds. It was the school's first 40 and 10 night in their history.
Triple-double tonight for Towson's Jerrelle Benimon: 17 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists. That will get a mention every time. It was the first triple-double in school history.
•Evan Gordon had 26 points to lead Indiana to an easy 81-54 win over Oakland. Travis Bader shot 0-for-10 from 3-point range for the Golden Grizzlies.
•Minnesota got double-doubles from both Austin Hollins (20 points, 14 boards) and Elliott Eliason (10 points, 12 boards) as the Golden Gophers cruised past South Dakota State. In front of Rick Pitino.
•Xavier was down 13 in the second half to Evansville, but Semaj Christon and his 19 points led a late Musketeers' run that helped them get a 63-60 victory.
•Coming off a big home win over Virginia on Saturday, Green Bay went into Eastern Michigan -- and couldn't keep the momentum going. Ray Lee had 17 for the Eagles, who pulled out the 67-58 win.
•Kansas State was down late in the second half to South Dakota, but the Wildcats held the Coyotes without a field goal for the last 5:53 to pull out the 64-62 victory.
•Three consecutive double-doubles for Gene Teague, and Seton Hall needed every bit of it in the first half before the Pirates pulled away for a 71-55 victory against NJIT. Teague had 11 points and 14 boards.
•Illinois had five guys in double-figures and six guys with at least nine points, as the Fighting Illini improved to 9-1 with a seven-point victory over Dartmouth.
•Fordham's Jon Severe is one of the top freshman scorers in the country -- but he's now 3 for 30 in his past two games.
•Utah is now 8-1 after cruising past Idaho State. Jordan Loveridge had 27 points and seven rebounds.
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