Gators wither in the second half and lose to Kansas 71-65

This is starting to become a pattern.

Just like the Miami game, it was basically a “tale of two halves” between Florida and Kansas. Just like against the Canes, the Gators blew a huge lead against the Jayhawks at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, to lose 71-65. This time, though, there was no Kansas player who got red hot late like Angel Rodriguez did for Miami. Instead, the Gators went went ice cold down the stretch, scoring a measly 13 points over an 18 minute period from :55 left in the first half to 3 minutes to go in the game. Part of that included a seven minute stretch without a single bucket from the floor.

Freshman Devin Robinson led the way with 13 points before fouling out for Florida, which saw its school-record nine-game winning streak in true road games snapped. Sophomore Chris Walker added a career-high 12 points while transfer Jon Horford and junior Michael Frazier II contributed 10 points each for the Gators.

On the other hand, Jayhawks’ freshman Cliff Alexander logged his first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas, which outscored Florida 44-20 over the final 16:40 to dig out of an 18-point hole. Perry Ellis added 10 points for the Jayhawks, and Wayne Selden Jr. scored 21 points- 14 of which came after the intermission.

Kansas led 14-10 with 13:42 left in the opening half before the Jayhawks missed nine of their next 10 shots and the Gators used a 14-0 surge behind five points from Dorian Finney-Smith, while Horford’s bucket in the lane off a drive from Kasey Hill with 2 minutes left widened the gap to 17. The Gators connected on three of their first four field goals and increased their lead to 45-27 less than 3 minutes into the second half.

Florida held a nine-point lead with 8:40 left following a 3-pointer from Robinson, but missed its next 10 shots while Selden and Alexander combined to score 12 of the next 13 points for Kansas, which finished off a 33-7 run on a jumper from Ellis with 3:21 remaining. Hill ended the Gators’ 7 + minute field-goal drought with 1:09 to go, but Kansas hit 11 consecutive free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.

This is the first time the Gators have had a losing record since the 1997-1998 season. This team is in serious trouble if it doesn’t figure something out quick. Florida is facing a Yale team that just knocked off UConn on Monday night at The O’ Connell Center.