Florida Gators freshman Brad Beal had his worse game in the Gator uniform last night. Beal managed only seven points on 2-9 shooting. Brad did make his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball, though, collecting 10 rebounds and blocking two shots.
In his six previous outings, Beal never scored less than 12 points. Syracuse did a great job of confusing the freshman. Luckily for the Gators, their upperclassmen stepped up to keep them in the game. Junior Kenny Boynton scored a game-high 22 points while Senior Erving Walker chipped in 17.
Florida lost the game because of turnovers. The Gators turned the ball over 20 times with Beal accounting for five of them. Syracuse used their big men to gain a advantage down low. The Orange out rebounded the Gators 34-27 with 14 coming on the offensive side.
Junior Brandon Triche scored 20 points to pace the Orange. Senior Scoop Jardine dropped in 16 for the Orange. Syracuse took advantage of countless Gator turnovers to take a four-point halftime lead. The Gators never went away hitting big three after big three, but the Orange were just too much to overcome.
The final score was 72-68, but to me that doesn't accurately reflect the game at all. Syracuse was in control the entire game. Florida's no quit attitude does show me that the will be ready come tourney time.
Florida will need to figure out what the are missing (a big man) to have any chance at a deep run come March. Both of the Gators losses have come on the road to the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams in the country, so neither one has been a bad loss.
Florida will have another test on December 7th against Arizona in Gainesville. Florida needs this win more than anything, to prove they belong with the elite teams in the country.