Instant reactions to Florida's blowout loss at Kansas State Wildcats


Florida had won five of its last six games entering the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and it was another chance to get an important win.

Instead, the Gators found out again what a really good team with eyes on a possible Final Four looks like.

Kansas State humbled the high-rising Gators (now 12-9), 64-50, and led by double figures for most of the game.

This wasn't about Keyontae Johnson once the game started. It was more about a Kansas State team (18-3) that is a complete team compared to a Florida team that inflated its record against some mediocre SEC teams.

Is that too harsh? Well, then, you didn't watch the game.

What happened


William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

It really wasn't much of a battle as the fifth-ranked Wildcats rolled from the start. Johnson finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but it was about a team that dominated in every way except in blocked shots (6-0).

Florida has another miserable start to the game after we thought that was out of the Gators' system. The first half was a disaster with the Gators making only 6-for-29 shooting while being outrebounded by 13 and trailing 37-16 at the halftime horn.

And that was with Johnson, the former Gator who leads the Wildcats in scoring, only scoring four points in the half. The Gators went the final 5:30 of the first half without scoring a single point.

The Gators, as is their habit, came out and played much better at the start of the second half going on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 37-26.

But a handful of bad possessions allowed the Wildcats, who scored only 11 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half, to pull away.

Florida made 4-for-27 from three-point range and made only one three in the second half. Guard Kyle Lofton was 1-for-7 shooting and is now 7 for his last 41 from three-point range.

It was ugly from the start and really didn't get much better. Kansas State was able to take advantage of the flaws of this Florida team to never feel threatened.

What it means


William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody was overly optimistic going into this game because of Kansas State's ranking. But Florida didn't seem like a team that wanted to be there and it was one more example of why this team is probably headed for the NIT. Another chance to get a big win, another missed opportunity. Florida probably won't drop in the NET, but the Gators still have to beat somebody.

Player of the Game: Kansas State


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While the story of the game might have been Johnson and there were signs making fun of Florida for him ending up in Manhattan, Kansas, the guy who really hurt Florida was guard Markquis Nowell who had 13 points, eight assists and nine rebounds.

Player of the Game: Florida


Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Will Richard[/autotag] had another nice game and is becoming one of Florida's better players. He finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds and had the best plus-minus of the starters (not that it was saying much).

Inside the numbers


William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State handled Florida despite these numbers for the Wildcats: 4-for-17 on threes; seven missed free throws; 38% shooting for the game. But the combination of great defense and Florida having another bad night shooting (31% overall) made the game a blowout.

He said it


Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

"Disappointing the way we came out. We built up a lot of confidence the last few games, but it did not carry over. I was proud of the way we came out to start the second half but you can't dig yourself that kind of hole. We just weren't aggressive enough." - [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag]

Next up


Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The run of four straight difficult games continues when the Gators play host to Tennessee, a team ranked second in the country in the NET rankings. The Vols are now 18-3 after an 82-71 win against Texas Saturday night. It is also yet another chance for Florida to get a Quad 1 win, and eventually, the Gators are going to run out of them.

Read more

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