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UF Men’s Basketball: Florida 86, Stetson 40

Sophomore guard Scottie Lewis (23) walls up Hatters’ forward Mahamadou Diawara during UF’s defensive-dominant performance in Sunday’s home opener.

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

Florida 86, Stetson 40
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Gainesville, Fla.

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Notables

  *   The Florida defense was locked in and allowed 40 points, the second-fewest under Mike White, trailing only the 39 points permitted vs. Virginia in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
     *   UF went on a 17-minute stretch of game time (12:30 first half through 15:30 second half) with just one field goal allowed.
  *   Keyontae Johnson led the way with 19 points and is averaging a team-high 19.7 points through three games.
  *   Scottie Lewis stuffed the box score with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-best six assists, earning his second career double-double.
  *   Noah Locke caught fire in the second half, making four 3-pointers over a five-minute span. He finished the game 5-for-6 from 3-point range with 15 points.
  *   It marked Locke’s 10th career game with 5+ made 3-pointers.
  *   The Gators won their 30th consecutive home opener, dating back to a 1990 loss vs. Texas.
  *   Osayi Osifo made his Florida debut, getting his first points on a free throw early in the game. Samson Ruzhentsev also scored his first collegiate points, knocking down a 3-pointer.
  *   Walk-ons Alex Klatsky and Jack May also made their first game appearances.

Quotable

Head coach Mike White

On the defensive effort…
“Donnie (Jones) and Stetson are going to be really good. I mean, they’ve been in quarantine as much as anyone out there. We’ve had our issues – I’m sure most of our league has – but Stetson’s been hanging out in hotel rooms too often. They’ve got a really good young nucleus and they’re going to win for a long time in that league and be really competitive, so we certainly did some good things, but we’re far from where we need to be.”

On Scottie Lewis’ stat line…
“I thought he was really good. I haven’t seen a plus/minus like this. He was +43, six assists and one turnover. Great decisions. Affected the game. I mean you’re +43 and you took five shots, you’re playing hard. You’re playing with energy and it spreads. He’s continuing to improve, of course, he’s got a ways to go, but I like the unselfishness more than anything from him. Trying to get some really good passes in transition.”

Scottie Lewis

On his strong performance across the board today…
“It comes. Whatever I have to do to help out my team. Whether it’s scoring two points and getting ten rebounds, or whatever the stat line is. As long as we get the win, that’s all that really matters.”

On Noah Locke’s confidence in his game…
“Noah’s (Locke) a super, super confident person. You never have to tell him to keep shooting, or never tell him anything like that. Noah’s (Locke) going to shoot the ball and we want him to shoot the ball.”

Noah Locke

On the team’s performance and adjusting early on…
“You know, just getting adjusted to them. First time playing against a zone the whole game. We talk about it a lot in practice, being able to ball fake, moving the zone, but I mean we realized we could attack it too. Because I feel like we were standing a lot. Just ball fake, standing, and trying to pass it. But I feel like, once we started attacking the zone much more, being more aggressive with it, we started to look more cohesive.”

On the team’s press developing…
“I feel like it’s getting better. Being able to stay in front of your man without fouling, I mean that’s our biggest thing. It’s definitely a work in progress, we do it a lot in practice. It’s much different in the game, we got to get used to playing that way. We haven’t played that way. Just getting used to the playing style and being able to go out without fouling.”