Skip to content

Florida holds off Andrew Wiggins, Kansas for 67-61 win

Dec 10, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

Scottie Wilbekin Getty Images

Florida entered the season ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, however, it was with a depleted roster that included players ineligible, suspended or injured.

The Gators lost a road game inside the Kohl Center to the currently unbeaten Wisconsin Badgers, which caused them to fall outside the top 10. Last Monday, Shabazz Napier drained his second chance at a game winner, running out of Gampel Pavilion with what could have been a huge road victory for Florida.

On Tuesday night at home, No. 19 Florida — in the middle of a difficult three game slate — looked like the team that was worthy of the preseason praise, taking a double-digit first half lead before holding off a Jayhawks comeback in a 67-61 win No. 13 Kansas at home as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Florida started out slow, trailing 10-3. But the Gators extended 1-3-1 zone sparked a 21-0 run. During that span the Jayhawks missed all six shots, and committed six turnovers, struggling to make passes against the length and quickness of the zone, especially on the wings with 6-foot-7 Will Yeguete on one side and the 6-foot-6 Casey Prather on the other.

Despite holding a consistent eight to 12-point lead for most of the second half, Kansas made a late-game comeback led by the second half play of Andrew Wiggins, who posted season highs in points (26) — 20 came in the second half — and rebounds (11), recording his first double-double with KU.

Florida earns a huge win, finally starting to get a complete, or nearly complete roster. Kasey Hill and Scottie Wilbekin (18 points) played their first regular season game together in the Gators back court, and more good news could be one the way as top-10 recruit Chris Walker may be set to join the team within a week or so.

With the roster coming more and more together, you can see just how dangerous Billy Donovan’s club can be. Hill and Wilbekin gives the Gators two ball handlers, who can also pressure opposing guards. Prather is one of the most improved scorers in the country at 19.1 per game. And the front court is talented and deep.

Florida, which finished third in scoring defense last season, can throw different looks at teams defensively, including that 1-3-1 zone that helped force 24 KU turnovers (16 in the first half).

We’ve wondered what the Gators would look like with all their players in uniform instead out due to injuries, or off the court issues. Tuesday night offered a good idea of what that might look like in the upcoming months. And the Gators are still waiting to be at full strength, pending Walker’s eligibility.

Florida gets a chance add another quality non-conference victory next Tuesday against No. 16 Memphis at Madison Square Garden, the end of a string of three consecutive games against ranked opponents.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Former George Mason forward Anali Okoloji headed to Eastern Michigan

    Apr 21, 2014, 12:09 AM EDT

    Anali Okoloji, Matt Thomas AP

    In need of some bodies in the front court, Eastern Michigan has reportedly added one in the form of George Mason transfer Anali Okoloji.

  2. 2015 shooting guard Camron Justice verbally commits to Vanderbilt

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:43 PM EDT

    Rob Cross, Kevin Stallings AP

    Late Sunday Vanderbilt landed its first commitment in the 2015 class, with shooting guard Camron Justice announcing his pledge via Twitter.

  3. USF loses two more as guards Javontae Hawkins, Musa Abdul-Aleem decide to transfer

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

    Michael Dixon, Jr., Javontae Hawkins AP

    USF lost two more players Saturday as guards Javontae Hawkins and Musa Abdul-Aleem decided to transfer.

  4. UConn guard Ryan Boatright still undecided on 2014 NBA Draft

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT

    Ryan Boatright AP

    UConn guard Ryan Boatright is still weighing whether or not to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.

  5. Marquette’s Davante Gardner named MVP of Portsmouth Invitational (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    Davante Gardner, Sandi Marcius AP

    The 62nd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament wrapped up Saturday night, with former Marquette big man Davante Gardner winning MVP honors.

  6. Houston adds second junior college recruit in guard Eric Weary

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwexmja4zju3njzknzg5mziznzyxotuyytg3otu5yjzj AP

    Houston landed a second junior college transfer Sunday, with Howard College product Eric Weary announcing his decision to commit to the program.

  7. Syracuse graduate assistant Nick Resavy at it again with trick shots (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT

    Syracuse Athletics Department Syracuse Athletics Department

    More than three years later, Nick Resavy is still making ridiculous shots.

  8. Aquille Carr has declared for the 2014 NBA Draft

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The electrifying point guard has put his name into the NBA draft.

  9. Harrison twins awaiting feedback from NBA before deciding to return or declare

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The Harrison twins are halfway through deciding on returning to Lexington or declaring for the NBA draft.

  10. Alabama lands commitment from 2014 small forward Jeff Garrett

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:02 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Garrett becomes the fourth member of the Crimson Tide’s incoming class.

  11. Former NC State commit Torian Graham signs with Houston

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT

    AP AP

    The Cougars landed a former top 100 recruit on Sunday morning.

  12. Report: Former Marshall guard Kareem Canty still weighing transfer options

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Kareem Canty AP

    Just over a week after his appeal to be released from his scholarship at Marshall was granted, Kareem Canty’s decided to transfer to Auburn.

  13. Jordan Brand Classic highlights (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Watch the incoming class showcase their talents in Brooklyn on Friday night.

  14. Report: Louisiana Tech’s Michael White prime candidate for Tennessee vacancy

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:58 AM EDT

    Michael White AP

    According to a report, Louisiana Tech’s Michael White is the focus of Tennessee’s search for a new head coach.

  15. Kentucky fan follows through on promise to get tattoo honoring Willie Cauley-Stein

    Apr 19, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    NCAA Men's Final Four - Championship Getty Images

    A Kentucky fan promised to get a tattoo of Willie Cauley-Stein if the 7-footer returned to Lexington for his junior season. Saturday, Michael Gray followed through.

  16. 2014 shooting guard Patrick McCaw commits to UNLV

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT

    Dave Rice AP

    UNLV has added another player to its 2014 recruiting class, as shooting guard Patrick McCaw verbally committed to the Mountain West program.

  17. Arizona State lands former UNLV forward Savon Goodman

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    Savon Goodman, Brandon Spearman AP

    Arizona State has made another addition to its roster, landing a commitment from former UNLV forward Savon Goodman.

  18. USF forward Zach LeDay announces decision to transfer

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT

    Zach Leday, Shaquille Thomas AP

    Forward Zach LeDay has decided to leave the USF program after spending two seasons in Tampa.

  19. Florida A&M fires head coach Clemon Johnson after three seasons

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic - Florida A&M v Florida Gulf Coast Getty Images

    New Florida A&M AD Kellen Winslow Sr. has already decided that the basketball program needs a new leader, as head coach Clemon Johnson was relieved of his duties Friday.

  20. Will Tonny Trocha-Morelos finally suit up for Texas A&M?

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT

    CBE Hall Of Fame Classic Getty Images

    Will highly-touted Colombian center Tonny Trocha-Morelos finally be joining the Texas A&M program?

Featured video

Derrick Gordon says 'Why not me?'