GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Defense was the key for Head Coach Mike White and the Gators (15-6, 6-2 SEC), in their 81-60 win against Baylor (12-9, 2-6 SEC). Florida forced 15 turnovers for 20 points in the Saturday afternoon matchup.
“I think Baylor’s got such role definition that you know where they’re trying to go, [Baylor Head Coach] Steve [Drew] knows and we know and their next opponent is going to know that they’re trying to pound it to [senior forward Jo Lual] Acuil of course and [senior guard Manu] Lecompte is going to run off a million screens and they do a really good job with it” said Coach White.
The secret weapon to shutting down Baylor’s role players, Chris Chiozza.
“The luxury we have is having Chris Chiozza – that’s as good as it gets at chasing guys off screens with the speed, quickness and toughness” said Coach White.
“I tell our team every day, he’s the one guy that defends at a high level every single day and we’re trying to get some others that can guard at that level with him.”
Chiozza says the team had no choice but to come hard vs. Baylor. Their loss against South Carolina Wednesday was the motivation they needed.
“I think our lack of focus against South Carolina was what killed us. They just out hustled us. That’s what we try to do to other teams and just be more aggressive and get out to loose balls. I think they beat us to 75 or 80 percent of those, and I think that was a big factor” said Chiozza.
The Gators did a lot more than just defend against Baylor. Florida racked up 14 threes, and four players finished with double digit points.
“You look at shooting percentage and you know what they are capable of. So much of basketball is confidence and timing of when you play opponents. I know we were ready to play and I thought Florida did a great job in not allowing us to make a game of today” said Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew.
Next up for Florida, a trip to Athens for an SEC match-up against Georgia.