Mistakes plague Ospreys in beatdown loss to Gators

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

When it rains, it pours.

Wednesday’s matchup in Gainesville featured two teams looking to bounce back from rough losses. UNF suffered a 35-point defeat to Florida Atlantic on Sunday, while the Florida Gators looked to avenge an embarrassing loss to Texas Southern, a team that was winless prior to the upset. 

The Gators took the opening tipoff, an early sign of things to come. The Ospreys kept it fairly close in the opening minutes, but it didn’t take long for Florida to seize control of the game.

It was clear that the Ospreys were outmatched, but they did nothing to help themselves either. The first half of play saw UNF commit nearly as many turnovers as points scored. Throughout the course of the evening, the Gators scored 33 points off of 28 UNF turnovers.

Florida’s Colin Castleton goes to work in the post, where he would shine against the Ospreys on Wednesday. (Justin Nedrow)

Florida forward Colin Castleton towered over the Ospreys, both literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-11 senior was a driving force for the Gators, posting 26 points and eight rebounds. On the rare occasion that UNF was able to contain Castleton, someone else always seemed to step up for the Gators and deliver a disheartening blow.

The Ospreys are a team that lives, and subsequently dies, by the three-point shot. While this can prove successful at times, one criteria has to be met: The three-pointers go in. This was not the case Wednesday, as UNF hit a team total of just five shots from beyond the arc.

Going into halftime, things weren’t looking great. The Gators led 41-23 and didn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Their momentum carried into the second half, as they opened with a powerful 12-4 run to resume play.

From here on out, it wasn’t a matter of who was going to win, but rather how much Florida would win by. Osprey fans received a quick moment of relief as a lighthearted moment took place when the ball got stuck on the basket support. Florida forward Jason Jitoboh used a cheerleader’s megaphone to knock the ball free, causing the crowd to go wild.

After this break in the blowout, the Gators picked up right where they left off. As the clock winded down though, head coach Mike White gradually took his starters out, slowing down the onslaught. 

The Gators ultimately took the contest by a final score of 85-55. This win was Florida’s 10th against UNF in program history, giving them a perfect 10-0 all-time record against the Ospreys.

UNF’s Carter Hendricksen (3) and Chaz Lanier (2) box out Florida’s Brandon McKissic (23) during a free throw attempt Wednesday. (Justin Nedrow)

Picking up a win was going to be extremely difficult for the Ospreys, but the self-inflicted wounds made it nearly impossible. Adding to the rough night for UNF was their leading scorer, Carter Hendricksen, being held to four points. A positive, however, was newcomer Jarius Hicklen dropping 16 points of his own, a personal career high at the Division I level.

The Ospreys simply took away any chance of winning from themselves with a plethora of errors. To beat a high-level team like the Gators, the execution has to be flawless, and it was anything but for UNF.

The team will shift their focus to their next matchup, a home game against the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday at 2 p.m. A win could serve as a crucial turning point in what has been a rough start to the season for the Ospreys, but they will have to play much cleaner if they hope to do so.


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