Rushed Reactions: #4 Florida 80, #13 East Tennessee State 65

Posted by Walker Carey on March 16th, 2017

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Walker Carey (@walkerRcarey) is in Orlando this weekend.

Florida Advances by Taking Control in the Second Half (USA Today Images)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Devin Robinson was the best player on the court. Devin Robinson has always had the tools to be a star. He has great size at 6’8″ and is one of those athletes who is simply breathtaking to observe. The issue, though, with the junior has been his consistency. One game he will look great and the next game he will completely disappear. In today’s victory over East Tennessee State, Robinson turned in one of his best games of the season. The athletic forward finished with 24 points (10-of-17 FG and 2-of-5 3FG) and collected seven rebounds. The most impressive part of his performance was that it seemed like whenever Florida needed a bucket to separate itself, it was Robinson who came through with the answer. The question now is whether Robinson be able to turn in a similar performance Saturday against Virginia’s stout defense?
  2. Florida cranked things up defensively in the second half. At halftime it appeared we were headed for a down-to-the-wire finish, but that all changed with Florida increasing its defensive intensity and making things more difficult for the ETSU offense in the second half. The Buccaneers were held to just 33 second-half points, shot just 33.3 percent from the field, and committed nine turnovers in the latter 20 minutes. The quickness of Florida’s guards has been well-documented all season, but it appeared that any preparation by East Tennessee State went for naught, as Gators guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza harassed the Bucs’ backcourt during what had to have been a very frustrating second half.
  3. Turnovers helped do in East Tennessee State. The box score shows there a small disparity in the turnover margin – East Tennessee State committed 17 and Florida committed 15 — but that, however,  is not the whole story of the giveaway battle. When Florida began to pull away in the second half, East Tennessee State could not put a sustained string of possessions together, as it kept turning the ball over to the Gators to accelerate their run. Florida deserves credit for making things difficult for the East Tennessee State offense, but the Bucs’ carelessness with the basketball played a major role in deciding the outcome.

Player of the Game. Devin Robinson, Florida. The junior was the best player on the court all afternoon. His 24 points led all scorers and East Tennessee State did not have a player who could match his athleticism. Robinson was efficient from the field — 10-of-17 FG — and he was a factor on the defensive end by blocking two shots and grabbing five defensive rebounds.


  • “We just knew we had to play harder.” – Robinson, talking about the mood in Florida’s locker room when the Gators led by just one point at halftime.
  • “The thing I like about KeVaughn is he went 1-of-11, not 1-of-4. He stayed aggressive. He is not hanging his head right now.” – Florida coach Mike White, acknowledging that Gators’ leading scorer KeVaughn Allen did not have his best game, but he did not let it impact his intensity.
  • “Their length and athleticism gave us problems.” – East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes, discussing how Florida’s defense was able to throw off his team’s offensive attack.
  • “I can now tell people I played in the NCAA Tournament.” – East Tennessee State guard A.J. Merriweather, noting that despite the loss, it is still an impressive accomplishment to play in the Big Dance.

Sights and Sounds. In the postgame press conference, Florida forwards Kevarrius Hayes and Devin Robinson talked about how they introduced Mike White to the musical artist Migos and how White told the team to “pipe it up” (a famous Migos lyric) before the game. It is always quite humorous when basketball coaches try to relate with and understand current popular culture.

What’s Next. Florida advances to the Second Round on Saturday where it will face Virginia in a compelling match-up.

WCarey (318 Posts)

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