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Gators edge Tigers for second straight conference win.

Colin Castleton scored 19 of 21 points in the second half
Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 6:53 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Behind Colin Castleton’s team-high 21 points the Florida Gators held on to defeat LSU 83-79 to win their conference home-opener, Saturday.

Castleton came in to the game coming off a career best 23 points on 11-13 shooting against Vanderbilt on Wednesday. In Saturday’s matchup, the 6′11 transfer from Michigan didn’t get in the zone until the second half - he picked up two quick fouls in the first, and forced Head Coach Mike White to sit him for most of the period.

When Florida came out of the locker room for the last half of regulation, Castleton scored the Gators first 15 points, including a personal 9-0 run, to give the orange and blue a 55-50 lead. He finished the game 7-10 from the field and a perfect 7-7 at the foul line to score 19 of his 21 points in the second half.

Another key contributor for Florida was Anthony Duruji. The Junior forward scored 16 points, going 6-12 from the field, including 2-5 from the outside. Florida shot the three ball horribly for the game, just 5-21, but Duruji’s final triple of the day beat the first half buzzer to pull the Gators even with the Tigers 40-40.

Duruji’s now scored double digits in back-to-back games, shooting at least 50% or better in each.

Florida’s bench only scored a paltry four points on the day, but that’s because four of five Gator starters scored in double digits. Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis combined for 36 points in the winning effort.

Aside from Castleton’s monster second half performance, it was Lewis who sealed the win for Florida.

With 30 seconds left to play and the Gators leading 78-74, Lewis sunk the Tigers hopes of forcing overtime by making five clutch free throws down the stretch to win their second consecutive SEC contest of the season.

Florida will take a couple days off before it heads to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on Tuesday.

Game Notes:

Florida showed marked improvement shooting from the free throw line coming off their win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday. In the team’s 91-72 blow out the Commodores, the Gators only shot 64% (16-25) at the charity stripe. On Saturday, Florida shot 87% (20-23).

Keyontae Johnson was a fixture on the Gator sideline all game long. He’s recently returned to the team after collapsing on the court in the Gators loss to Florida State back on December 12.

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