Three Takeaways From Florida’s 81-66 Victory Over LSU
Have a game, Keyontae Johnson. Have a game, Scottie Lewis.
After another stellar performance in a must-win home game, Johnson and Lewis lifted the Florida Gators (18-10, 10-5 SEC) to a victory over the LSU Tigers (19-9, 10-5 SEC) with their combined 43 points on 19-of-27 shooting.
Getting off to a hot start and never looking back, the Gators were able to do something they have struggled with throughout the year at times: Keep a lead. In a game where Florida played perhaps its best basketball of the season, it was able to continue its journey toward the tournament while evening out the LSU series.
Here’s what we learned.
Florida plays at its best when it's scoring points in the paint
A quick start to the game is always helpful for a team that can struggle to score points. However, something that is even more helpful is scoring points inside the arc.
In Wednesday’s action, Florida posted its season-high of points in the paint with 48 and shot 25 for 41 on two-point shots. Coincidentally, the scoring drought that has become typical of this Mike White-coached Gator team never appeared for it against LSU.
A big part of this was its aggressiveness in the paint and the willingness to forgo lower percentage shots to drive the ball into the lane, a tendency that should stay in the game plan until the season’s end.
Keyontae Johnson continues to prove he is the best overall player on this team
With each and every game that comes and goes, Keyontae Johnson continues to show us why he is the most lethal player the Gators have.
Doing it on both the offensive and defensive end, Johnson put on another impressive showing against LSU. Johnson recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 25 points on 11 for 15 shooting and 11 rebounds, on a night where he simply looked unstoppable.
Doing it from inside and outside the arc, Johnson put together a career night and solidified his standing as the Gator’s best two-way player.
With help from other vital pieces, including Andrew Nembhard and Noah Locke in the backcourt, the trio could push the Gators to a higher seed in the tournament and a possible upset when March arrives.
Scottie Lewis is starting to put it together
After a sluggish start to his Gators career, Scottie Lewis has come alive, and he’s doing it in a big way.
Scoring a career-high 18 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, Lewis was a vital piece of the Gator’s success on Wednesday night across his 36 minutes. As the energy backbone of the Gators, Lewis provided the spark that ultimately resulted in their impressive victory.
And the spark wasn't just created by his box score, but also by his jaw-dropping highlight of the game.
Lewis, the No. 1 small forward in the 2019 recruiting class, has had plenty of ups and downs in his highly-anticipated freshman season, but we're starting to see more out of him when the team is playing well. Whether it's his 18 points and four assists against LSU, or his seven rebounds, two steals, and a block against Arkansas last week, Lewis is trending upward as the regular season starts to come to a close.
As the closing stretch continues, Lewis will be looked upon to continue his two-way prowess for the Gators to be successful.
Gaining steam for the final three games of the regular season, Florida looks to ride the wave to the end with more solid performances against Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky.