The Gators hung on to defeat the dangerous squad from the Mountain West 70-61, ending what was a disappointing season for the opposition while continuing a strong run for the Gators.
Florida went up by as much as 18 points on the Wolf Pack following a Jalen Hudson jumper at the 14:03 mark. But from there, things turned troubling for Mike White’s Gators. Nevada would go on an 11-3 run to cut the deficit down to 10. From there, they would go on an 11-4 run to make it a three point game with 5:18 remaining. Nevada got to within two following two free throws by Caleb Martin, but some clutch baskets by Andrew Nembhard and Dontay Bassett helped to put the game out of reach.
The Gators would seal things up with three made free throws by Keyontae Johnson and KeVaughn Allen, and celebrated yet another Round of 64 victory.
Allen, Kevarrius Hayes, Hudson and Johnson all got into double figures in the victory. Johnson went for 10 & 10, giving himself a double-double, while Hayes led the way with 16 points. Hudson was right behind him with 15 while Allen matched Johnson with 10 points of his own. They got eight points from Nembhard, while Bassett chipped in four. Noah Locke, meanwhile, scored five while Isaiah Stokes contributed two points. In all, this was a very balanced effort across the board and despite some shooting woes, they were still able to hang on to win.
Nevada, meanwhile, was led by the Martins, as Caleb scored 19 while Cody Martin put up a game-high 23 points. He went 8-for-12 from the field while his brother went just 5-for-22. No other Wolf Pack players got into double figures, as Tre’Shawn Thurman and Jordan Caroline scored seven points apiece. Trey Porter only scored two and Jazz Johnson added just three points in 31 minutes.
This was certainly a bit of a surprise, especially when taking preseason expectations into consideration for Nevada. But the Gators’ stingy defense combined with the Wolf Pack being out of sync at times have led to a decisive result in Florida’s favor. They will now likely face off with the Michigan Wolverines (boy, don’t you love how often these programs face off in... everything?!) in Saturday’s Round of 32 action. We’ll see if Florida can surprise again and head out west to yet another Sweet 16 under Mike White.