Three Takeaways From Florida’s 71-55 Win Over Ole Miss


Fifteen points. 

That was how many Florida forward Keyontae Johnson had in Florida’s 71-55 win over Ole Miss at the O’Connell Center on Tuesday night. It was a comeback performance after a five-point outing against Missouri. Here are some takeaways from UF’s victory:

Johnson needs double digits

He is simply too important to this team. Five-point games like the Missouri game from Johnson just aren’t acceptable. Against the Rebels he puts up 15 and the Gators win convincingly.

Granted, Ole Miss is not that good, it is 9-7 on the season and now 0-3 in conference play. But the Tigers weren’t good either. Through four games, Florida is still Missouri’s only win in the SEC. 

So, all of that to say, this team is capable of losing to some pretty bad teams if Johnson doesn’t perform at a level he should perform at. If he does? Florida is much tougher to beat. 

This can be an elite defensive team

Florida’s program since the arrival of coach Mike White has prided itself on the defensive end. Sometimes this year, the defense has not reflected that whatsoever. 

Missouri is not a good offensive basketball team, and it hung 91 points on Florida. Ole Miss scoring 55 is more like it for White’s squad and what it tends to flex its muscle on. 

When the Gators focus, and guard/forward Scottie Lewis makes a few jaw-dropping defensive plays per game, this is a special unit on that side of the court. And considering how often the offense stagnates, it will have to be for UF to make any sort of run in March. 

Although unnatural, Andrew Nembhard must score

Point guard Andrew Nembhard is about as traditional as the point guard position gets. He truly is a floor general and a pass-first guy. 

And that is fine. That can help UF’s offense get out of funks where it seemingly is stuck in quicksand. However, it is exponentially more difficult for the Gators to win when he isn’t threatening to score at all. 

Against Ole Miss, he finished the game with 10 points and six assists. That is a perfectly good stat line for him to have. 

What he can’t have is the five or six-point nights. It makes it harder for him to pass because defenses just play passing lanes and it makes it harder for his teammates to react off of what he does and the ball will stagnate. He may not be a natural scorer, but to be a top PG in college basketball and take Florida on a deep run, he needs to score in double figures.