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Florida Gators Rolls Through Cal 80-60; Set to Face Ohio State

Recapping the Florida Gators 20-point victory over the Cal Golden Bears Monday night. UF will play Ohio State in the Fort Myers Tip-Off championship Wednesday.

The Florida Gators locked down the fort in their domination of Cal on Monday.

Playing in their first non-home game of the 2021-22 season, UF asserted their defensive dominance on yet another foe, forcing 18 total turnovers on their way to a 20-point victory over the Golden Bears.

Imposing their will on Cal defensively, the Gators made it difficult for Mark Fox's unit to establish a rhythm on that end. Fortunately for Fox, his team isn't the only ones to fall victim to Florida's full-court press and menacingly aggressive defense this season.

The Gators have yet to allow more than 61 points to any opponent, including Florida State.

Senior center Colin Castleton led Florida's efforts, accounting for 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one block.

Castleton's impact stretched beyond the stat sheet yet again.

Utilized heavily in the pick and roll a year ago, the 6-foot-11, 231-pounder has elevated this Gators team by adding another dimension to his already well-rounded skillset.

Developing a midrange and three-point jumper in the offseason, Castleton now forces defenders to respect him when picking and popping at the top of the key.

He now has the ability to draw opposing big men out of the paint, creates open lanes for guards to take it to the cup off the dribble without the fear of meeting a help defender underneath.

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For example, just over midway left in the second half, Gators guard Tyree Appleby commanded the offense from just beyond the three-point line. Receiving a screen from Castleton, Appleby neglected to use it, sprinting out to his right instead.

Using a quick first step to gain leverage on his defender, Appleby would blow past the Cal man-to-man defense for an easy bucket inside to extend the Gators lead to 21 points, 63-41.

Florida would maintain their sizable advantage for the longevity of the contest. They went on to win 80-60, earning their 17th 20-point victory against a power five conference opponent in the Mike White era.

Myreon Jones accounted for 13 points, Phlandrous Fleming posted 11 and Appleby tallied 15 in complement to Castleton. Forward CJ Felder also broke out of his shell to post his best performance in blue and orange threads.

The Gators continued to show their firepower on the offensive end, eclipsing the 80-point mark for the second time this season.

Interestingly, the assertiveness of this team has not hindered their offensive production. Instead, players have shown content to defer to the hot hand when it comes to shooting the basketball, a testament to the maturity the group brings to the table.

As a result, six different Gators have eclipsed the double-digit mark at one point this season. In addition, at least four players have reached that mark in all four games this year. Castleton has been the mainstay.

Florida improves to 4-0 on the season and will now take on Ohio State in the championship game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off Wednesday. The Buckeyes took down No. 21 Seton Hall 69-66 to earn their spot in the championship.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30.

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