UF Defense Dominates UVA To Advance To Sweet 16

UF Overpowers UVA To Easily Advance To The Sweet 16

University of Florida’s defensive dominance proved too much for the University of Virginia as they toppled UVA by the final score of 65-39.

“Obviously very happy. Great win for our program, for this team, especially having defeated such a high-level program, a program that we have so much respect for,” UF head Coach Mike White said. “We have as much respect for as a staff Virginia’s program as any program in the country for what they’ve accomplished since Tony’s been there.”

Defense was key in this game for the Gators especially in the first half as they only gave 17 points in the half. They also had a fantastic run at the end of the half, going on an 18-4 to end the half and they did not let UVA score for the final 5:10 of the first half as well. They also did not let UVA shoot a free throw attempt in the half.

In the second half, was more of the same as UVA could not get a basket to save their lives if they had to. In fact they only gave up 39 points for the game. UVA couldn’t even get to 40 points. That’s how dominant the Gators defense was tonight. Coach White on if this was close to perfection for his defense.

“Yeah, that’s about as well as we’ve played defensively,” White said. “We put a lot of it together tonight. I’m really proud of the defensive effort, the focus, the lock-in. Especially when we got up, I don’t know, say 16 we didn’t have a drop-off, and we’ve had that four or five times this year. We didn’t have it tonight.”

Two key players for the Gators tonight was Devin Robinson and Justin Leon. Both had 14 points each and they combined to shoot 5-10 from the three point line. Especially Leon’s threes which gave the Gators energy and the momentum to play the way that they did tonight. Leon on giving energy to his team.

“I’m like known to give my teammates energy,” Leon said. “That’s kind of one of my roles. I guess for me to it’s really something that I’m known to do, and I guess this wasn’t really nothing new, like finding something to give my teammates energy. I guess today it was just knocking down a couple of the shots, but most of the time it’s just me playing hard, and today it just happened to be me, I guess, getting some threes.”

The Gators got going early on the offensive side of the ball tonight which was one of the keys to dominating the way that they did tonight. Robinson on what they pinpointed to get their offense going in the early going.

“I think we just had to get them uncomfortable and play our tempo,” Robinson said. “We knew if we played at their methodical tempo, it would have been a tough game for us. We just tried to stay aggressive on defense and get in transition as best we can, and that turned to great offense.”

Coach White couldn’t be more proud of his team after the way they played tonight as well as how far they have come since the beginning of the year.

“I’m really proud. I guess I’ll get that out of the way,” White said. “It’s a group I’ve been proud of all year. I mean, this group, we might miss some shots. We might mess up some execution. We might have a lack of communication or an error in following the scouting report from time to time or what have you, but this group plays really hard. They play for each other. They play the right way.”

With this dominant win, the Gators will now be moving on to the sweet 16 and will be playing against the number eight seed in Wisconsin.

 

 

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Anthony Abruzzo is a sports writer that covers the UCF Men's Basketball team. He is currently a student at UCF as well.