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Instant reactions to Florida’s explosive loss to the Kansas State Wildcats

Florida had won five of their last six games in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and was another shot at a big win.

Instead, the Gators have rediscovered what a really good team looks like with their sights set on a possible Final Four.

Kansas State humbled the upstart Gators (now 12-9), 64-50, and led by double figures for most of the game.

It wasn’t about Keyontae Johnson once the game started. This was more about a Kansas State team (18-3) being a complete team than a Florida team inflating its record against some mediocre SEC teams.

Is it too hard? Well, then you haven’t watched the game.

What happened

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

It actually wasn’t much of a fight as the fifth-ranked Wildcats started from the start. Johnson finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but it was a team that dominated in everything but blocks (6-0).

Florida has another bad start to the game after we thought they were out of the Gators’ system. The first half was a disaster with the Gators shooting just 6 for 29 as they trailed 13 and trailing 37-16 at the halftime buzzer.

And that was with Johnson, the former Gator who leads the Wildcats in scoring, notching just four points in the half. The Gators went into the last 5:30 of the first half without scoring a single run.

The Gators, as is their wont, came out and played much better early in the second half to go up 10-0 to cut the lead to 37-26.

But a handful of bad possessions allowed the Wildcats, who scored just 11 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half, to pull away.

Florida made 4 of 27 three-pointers and made just one three in the second half. Guard Kyle Lofton was shooting 1-of-7 and is now 7 on his last 41 three-pointers.

It was bad from the start and really hasn’t gotten much better. Kansas State was able to exploit the flaws in this Florida team to never feel threatened.

What does it mean

The story continues

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

No one was overly optimistic going into this game due to Kansas State’s standings. But Florida didn’t look like a team that wanted to be there and was another example of why this team is likely headed to the NIT. Another chance for a big win, another missed opportunity. Florida probably won’t fall into the net, but the Gators are yet to beat anyone.

Player of the Game: Kansas State

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While the story of the game could have been Johnson and there were signs making fun of Florida for him ending up in Manhattan, Kansas, the guy who really hurt Florida was guard Markquis Nowell who had 13 points, eight assists and nine rebounds.

Game player: Florida

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Will Riccardo[/autotag] he had another good game and is becoming one of the best players in Florida. He finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds and had the best plus-minus of the starters (not that he was saying much).

Inside the numbers

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State managed Florida despite these numbers for the Wildcats: 4 for 17 for three; seven missed free throws; 38% shooting for the game. But the combination of great defense and Florida having another bad night shootout (31% overall) made the game a blowout.

He said it

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

“Disappointing how we came out of it. We have gained a lot of confidence in the last few games, but she hasn’t been transferred. I was proud of the way we went out at the start of the second half, but you can’t dig yourself that kind of hole. We just weren’t aggressive enough. – [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag]


Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The tough four-game streak continues as the Gators host Tennessee, a second-ranked team in the country in NET rankings. The Vols are now 18-3 after an 82-71 win against Texas on Saturday night. It’s also another chance for Florida to get a Quad 1 win and ultimately, the Gators will run out of them.

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The story originally appeared on Gators Wire

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