Florida No.20 bounces off stun, manages UNF 85-55

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Colin Castleton has barely slept after Florida’s humiliating loss to Texas Southern. He couldn’t help but think about how much the Gators had done wrong – turnovers, defensive mistakes, less than ideal shots.

He’s probably going to have a better night’s rest now.

Castleton recorded a career-high 26 points with eight rebounds, Myreon Jones added 14 points and the Florida No.20 ended a two-game slippage with an 85-55 win over North Florida Wednesday evening.

After a superb home loss to Texas Southern, previously winless, the Gators (7-2) dominated in Game 1 and improved to 27-0 against the Ospreys (2-9).

Castleton was a key contributor in the latter. He was 9 of 17 in shooting and made 8 of 11 from the free throw line. He had two assists, two interceptions and one blocked shot.

“Colin was really good,” said coach Mike White. He was aggressive. He imposed his will inside. It started with the way he approached his defensive effort.

It really started two nights earlier with one of the biggest upheavals in school history. The Gators held a lengthy team reunion on Tuesday where the players spoke up, took ownership and even offered constructive criticism to each other.

“I’m just beating us,” said Castleton, who personally admitted loss. “We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do. But that’s in the past. We need to stop talking about this loss. We have to move on. ”

It will be much easier now.

“It helped a lot to get rid of that bad feeling, just to pick up on that winning streak that we started and just to show people like that that it wasn’t us on Monday,” Jones said.

The Gators opened the second half with a 12-0 run that turned an 18-point lead into a laugh. The Florida press forced early turnovers and often this led to easy baskets and free throws. White’s team ended the night with 21 steals, a season high.

“We were back in our character, played out in our identity,” White said.

It was a very different performance from what the Gators showed two nights earlier at the O’Connell Center, where a lackluster effort led to an embarrassing loss to a 23-1 / 2-point underdog that could pull them off the standings. White believed there was some setback from the loss in Oklahoma last week.

Florida responded on Wednesday with sharper passes, better shots and cleaner possessions on both sides.

Tyree Appleby finished with 13 points for Florida.

Jarius Hicklen led North Florida with 16 points. Jadyn Parker added 12 points and nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

North Florida: The Ospreys are down 0-31 to ranked teams in their 17-year Division I basketball history. They are 0-3 this season, having previously lost to the No. 2 UCLA and then-No. 10 Kentucky. But payday gambling is essential in helping Jacksonville private school fund its athletic department.

Florida: White restored his roster with five transfers and two freshmen and expected growing pains. Back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Texas Southern could pay off in the long run as the Gators learn to win and deal with losses.

JITOBOH RETURNS

Florida big man Jason Jitoboh, who missed Monday’s loss due to a coach decision, returned to the rotation and scored three runs, a rebound and a block before committing a foul in seven minutes action. He received two enthusiastic standing ovations: one for a dunk in the middle of the second half and another when he grabbed a cheerleader’s megaphone and used it to knock a ball stuck between the rim. and the back panel.

FOLLOWING

North Florida: Host Austin Peay Saturday.

Florida: Ends the week against Maryland on Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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