Three takeaways from the Milwaukee beating in Florida

After an emotional win over Florida State that ended a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry streak (enough to jump in the polls), the No.24 Gators didn’t appear to be having a hangover at all. They led all the way in an 81-45 victory over the Milwaukee Panthers at the O’Connell Center.

Florida led only 11 at halftime but outscored the Panthers 35-7 to start the second period and held Milwaukee off the scoreboard for more than 10 minutes of playing time en route. towards victory by 36 points.

It was yet another dominant defensive display, and the offense really found its rhythm in the second half. The victory gives a lot of momentum to Coach Mike White’s side as they prepare for the kickoff at Fort Myers, where they face California in the opener on Monday night.

Here are three takeaways from the convincing victory over Milwaukee.

Colin Castleton dominated again

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Much of the talk around this squad has centered around Colin Castleton, and for good reason: the First Team All-SEC preseason selection is an absolute force on both ends of the pitch, and the game against Milwaukee is n ‘ was no different.

He led the Gators with 19 points, making nine of his 17 shots, and he had another double-double with 10 rebounds. Although he only had one block in that game, he still closed the paint, allowing just 26 points under the basket.

This Panthers front end was clearly outshone by Castleton, and the Fort Myers clashes could be a better indicator of where he is in his development. But he shone in the win over Florida State on Sunday and he starred again on Thursday night.

UF held Patrick Baldwin Jr. in check

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While the Panthers as a whole are not one of the most competitive mid-major teams in the country, there is one factor that can make them competitive in any game: Patrick Baldwin Jr. Milwaukee coach Pat Baldwin, Baldwin Jr. was a five-star rookie in the 2021 class and chose to play for his father’s team rather than offers from Duke and North Carolina.

Baldwin Jr. is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and he’s one of the most talented players this defense will face throughout the year. And for the most part, he was held in check.

He led the Panthers with 13 points, but only got 6 of 15 shots. He entered the game after scoring a double-double in each of his first two career games, and he was only limited to three rebounds in that game.

Anthony Duruji mostly silenced him, but it wasn’t just him. Milwaukee’s top scorers, guards DeAndre Gholston and Josh Thomas, were limited to just five points and four points respectively. Only one player other than Baldwin Jr., first-year goaltender Markeith Browning, scored in double digits as he totaled 11 coming off the bench.

That defense has seemed dominant all season, and Thursday night was perhaps its best performance, as it limited the Panthers to just 31% on team shots and had as many defensive rebounds (35) as Milwaukee had total rebounds. .

The offense has taken a big step forward from last year

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Especially at the end of the 2020-21 season, the Gators relied very heavily on Tre Mann’s heroic ball to score points. Over three games in 2021-2022, this does not seem to be the case at all. This team moves the ball very well and sets up a lot of open looks.

Florida had 21 assists as a team and shot 47% from the field as a unit. After a slow start behind the three-point line, the Gators eventually made 11 threes, despite having made 28 attempts. And it is not only downtown that they have found success; 40 of the team’s 81 points went into the paint.

While Castleton led the team in points, three other players hit double. After scoring just two points in the first half, guard Tyree Appleby finished with 14. All but one of his shots were three, and he was 4 of 7 from distance. Meanwhile, Duruji scored 12 points (across multiple dunks) to go with seven rebounds in addition to his defensive efforts against Baldwin Jr.

Finally, Phlandrous Fleming Jr. has scored in double digits for the first time this season, scoring 5 of 11 for 12 points while playing 19 minutes coming off the bench.

It’s the start of the season, and this team’s apparent offensive improvement will certainly be put to the test as the season progresses. But for now, it looks like one of the most dreaded attacks White has had in Gainesville.

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