Records: Florida: 2-0 | Kennesaw State 1-1
* The Gators picked up the victory behind a career-high 33-point performance from Colin Castleton on 12-for-18 from the floor and 9-for-13 from the free throw line.
* Castleton’s 33 points were the most by a Gator since Jalen Hudson had 33 vs. LSU (3/6/19).
* It also marked the first 30-point game for a Gator since Tre Mann’s 30 against Tennessee in the 2021 SEC Tournament (3/12/21).
* Castleton stuffed the box score with 33 points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots, three assists and two steals. He’s just the third power-conference player to reach all those marks over the past decade, joining Ben Simmons (LSU, 12/2/15 vs. UNF) and Malcolm Hill (Illinois, 12/19/15 vs. South Dakota).
* Will Richard followed up his strong opening night performance with another double-digit outing, scoring 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
Head Coach Todd Golden
On the offense…
“We scored 88. I thought we did a good job. Again, playing with purpose. They zoned us a little bit in the first half there, but not enough to really worry about. We thought we had an advantage inside tonight. We didn’t think they had a guy that could really bother Colin [Castleton] enough. We prepared for them to double team us and if they would’ve done that I think, well they tried a little bit, but we were able to throw out and do a good job of attacking that and not turning the ball over. We ended up with 11 turnovers. I think our turnover rate was a little below 15, which is our goal. Offensively, I think we played well enough and with a purpose. We only shot 11 threes. [Kowacie Reeves] hit some big threes in the second half. Did a good enough job of making our free throws, 72% a little above average, I’ll take that. Overall, offensively, I’ll take how we played tonight.”
On Colin Castleton…
“Pretty dang good. Pretty dang good. It’s the advantage of having a fifth-year senior who is an All-SEC player, a guy who is pretty comfortable out there. He allows us to keep it pretty simple in terms of what we do offensively. We just try to get him good catches in spots where he is comfortable. But again, our plan and our thought was if we can just punish them in the paint, that we would be in good shape. We didn’t do a good enough job defending the paint, but offensively we scored 48 points in the paint. We did a good job that way.”
On the defensive effort…
“I don’t think our ball screen coverage was good enough in the middle of the floor. We had some miscommunications on that. The point guard’s good. [Terrell] Burden is a good player. He does a good job getting downhill and kind of rejecting ball screens and then playing with a lot of poise in the paint. He uses his body to kind of knock guys off and gain some extra space for himself. That was a big issue. We got straight line driven a little too much. Guys not being able to keep guys in front. But again, Kennesaw is a little undersized, they’re quick, they’re athletic. They’re a good offensive team so they spread us out a little bit. I thought we defended the three-point line pretty well. We held them to four threes up until the last minute and half where their four-man hit a couple of threes when Colin was in the game guarding him. Those straight-line drives and in our ball screen coverage we kind of need to do a little better.”
5th Year F Colin Castleton
On his career-high scoring night…
“It felt good. I feel like as a team, just imposed our will a little bit in the paint, that was our mindset going into the game, my teammates just put me in a good spot whether that was ball screen coverages that they were playing or just finding my little spots on the floor where I can get easy ones and get to my spots and nice shots. It felt good but I felt we could’ve done a lot of things better tonight, but we got a W so that’s all that matters.”
On gaining confidence….
“Just putting the time in, being confident and you know what I’m capable of and Coach Golden just instilling that confidence in me day in and day out, I feel like he’s one of the best coaches in the country in just giving his players confidence. He’s going to get on you but he’s also gonna show you a lot of love, as players we really like that, we relate to him really well, and he’s just instills that confidence in me every day. I just go out there and try to pick my spots and when the defense gives me that shot Ima take it.”
On leading fast breaks…
“That’s all Coach Golden. I gotta give him all the credit, like I said I’ve just been putting in the work and he just gives me the option to do that. I pick my spots, I’m not going to bring it up every time I’m 7-foot, that just wouldn’t be smart but when I know their center is running back on defense and he’s lazy or tired, I’m going to take advantage of that. I know I can push through that wall and get ahead of their other 5 men. I just pick my spots and I see when I can push up the floor. I know I’m capable of it but that’s Coach Golden and the coaching staff giving me the confidence and the ability to do it.”
Sophomore G Will Richard
On Colin Castleton…
“It was elite, they’ve been talking about him as An all-American for a reason, every time he gets the ball its almost guaranteed a bucket. It’s great playing with him.”
On facing adversity with Kyle Lofton fouling out early in the second half…
“That’s just the moments where you have to come together as a team and just remain solid. It’s going to happen, you’re gonna get punched in the mouth so that really showed a lot about us. We really maintained composure and stayed solid throughout that. It was good to go through that as a team, I think it made us closer and better as a team for sure.”
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