The #18 Florida Gators suffered an absolute gut-wrenching overtime loss tonight as they lost to the Georgetown Hoyas 65-66 in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Offensively, the Gators were sloppy the entire game as they had 16 turnovers and blew an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer in regulation. Poor free throw shooting came back to bite them despite the team hitting 13 of their 19 free throw attempts. The Gators also could not penetrate Georgetown's defense as they scored just 10 points in the paint.
Since Florida had limited success getting to the basket, they had to rely on the deep ball. This did not bode well for the Gators. From three-point range, they shot 26.1% on just 6 of 23 shots. In overtime, Florida did not attempt a single three-pointer.
Defensively, the Gators once again did not look good as the Hoyas chewed them up for 26 points in the paint. Despite their domination in the paint, Georgetown's game winning shot came from afar as junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera drilled a jumper with three seconds left in the game. He was the Hoyas' leading scorer with 17 points. He was one of three Hoyas to score double figures in the game as forward Paul White and guard Jabril Trawick had 10 points a piece.
The Florida Gators had three double digit scorers of their own. They were Dorian Finney-Smith, Michael Frazier II, and Jon Horford.
In his first game back from injury, Dorian Finney-Smith led all Gator players in scoring with 16 points in 28 minutes off the bench. He made both of his three-point attempts and made six of his nine shot attempts from the field. He blocked one shot as well.
Michael Frazier II was the second highest scorer with 12 points today. To be honest though, he was dreadful as he made two of his eight three-point shots and went 4 of 11 shooting from the field. He did not attempt a single shot in overtime! On defense, however, Frazier II was alright as he notched a team high three steals.
Frazier II is in a funk right now and it may stem from the pressure that has been put on him to be a leader this year. He has been cold from downtown for the majority of games in this young season, but still has a good amount of time to get back on track.
The last double digit scorer for the Gators was the graduate student Jon Horford. He had a double-double today as he scored 10 points and led the team with 11 rebounds. He shot 80% from the field as he went four of five shooting and he was one of three Gators to record a block.
One of the players who really disappointed me tonight was Eli Carter. Also coming off an injury like Finney-Smith, Carter was mediocre and selfish today. He went 2 of 14 shooting for six points and missed the potential game winning shot as he drove the lane with three seconds left and got his shot blocked! This took me right back to the Miami game where he tried the same exact thing in the exact same situation and was called for a charge.
What upset me about Carter's play is that there were FOUR Hoya players in the paint and he did not at all think to dish it out to one of his teammates for the win! If Carter does not start playing unselfishly, then the Gators are going to have problems that will plague them all the way up until the tournament in March. Ironically, Carter was Florida's leading facilitator with three assists.
I do not want to leave Carter on a completely negative note so I will say this: He almost did win the game for the Gators in overtime as his half court shot as time expired nearly went in.
Now onto the man who is supposed to be doing all the assisting for the Gators: Kasey Hill. The sophomore point guard struggled once again this game until the very end. He went three of seven shooting for eight points and found a small groove in the second half going into overtime.
Hill displayed his clutch gene once again as he drew a foul on his game tying basket and then nailed the go-ahead free throw in overtime. Despite his late game scoring spurt and ability to hit free throws, Hill needs to work on his passing as he had just one assist in the game.
I know it's hard to fill the shoes of Scottie Wilbekin, but Kasey just needs to remember that he does not need to be Scottie. Kasey did have one block today, but he does not need to be the defensive specialist that Scottie was.
If Kasey can just do what is asked of the point guard position, which is to facilitate, then he will be fine. Once it all clicks in his mind, Kasey Hill will be a force to be reckoned with at point guard and this Gator offense will start running on all cylinders.
Finally, I'll highlight Chris Walker. He sure is a joy to watch as he dunks the ball ferociously whenever he gets the chance. His playing time was limited once again tonight as he was on the court for just 12 minutes. He made just one of his six shots from the field, but solid free throw shooting allowed him to total five points in the game.
Now 2-2, the Florida Gators will prepare for their second of three games on this trip. Their next opponent will be the UAB Blazers (2-3) in the loser's bracket of Battle 4 Atlantis. Even though they cannot win the tournament's championship, that does not mean the Gators have nothing to play for. They will most likely drop out of the Top 25 polls if they lose to the Blazers. Tipoff for this game is at 9:30 p.m on Thanksgiving night.
As for Georgetown, they remain undefeated at 5-0 and will now prepare to do battle with another undefeated in #2 Wisconsin (5-0). The winner of this game will go the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship Game and take on the winner of the Butler/Oklahoma game. Tipoff for this game is at 3:30 p.m.
*All stats accredited to ESPN.com