Past the towels strewn across the floor, past the locker room filled with talking teammates and a horde of reporters, KeVaughn Allen sat on top of a table in a back room.
Allen had just missed 10 of his 11 shots in his first NCAA Tournament game, including eight of his nine three pointers.
But despite his play, the sophomore guard wasn’t upset. After all, No. 4 seed Florida (25-8) defeated No. 13 seed East Tennessee State (27-8) 80-65 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Amway Arena, earning a second round matchup with No. 5 seed Virginia on Saturday.
Allen said he’ll spend more time in the gym before then.
“I just gotta continue to be aggressive,” he said, “no matter what happens out there.” PICTURE GALLERY: Check out pictures from the Florida Gators vs. East Tennessee State game in Round 1 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Before Thursday, Allen led Florida with 13.9 points per game.
But against the Buccaneers, he missed nearly everything, finishing with just seven points. He had his worst offensive outing since going 0-for-3 against South Carolina on Jan. 18.
And it was evident Allen was having an off night from the opening tip.
The sophomore missed the first seven shots he took, including his first five 3-pointers, a rarity for a guard with a 39.9 percent 3-point shooting percentage on the season.
“He had some open looks that normally don’t touch anything but net,” junior guard Chris Chiozza said. “But they were all good looks, and we want him to keep shooting. The next game he may go for 40.”
White agreed, and said that he told Allen to keep taking more shots during the game, despite his struggles.
“The one thing I like about KeVaughn is he goes 1-for-11 instead of 1-for-4. He stayed aggressive,” White said. “KeVaughn’s not hanging his head right now. KeVaughn’s happy that we won.”
In Allen’s place, junior forward Devin Robinson was UF’s leading scorer, finishing with a game-high 24 points.
He was Florida’s offensive spark, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers early in the first half to give UF a seven-point lead. And he was efficient, sinking 10 of his 17 shots to go along with just one turnover.“That’s kind of who we are,” White said. “We’ve had eight different leading scorers (throughout the season). And it takes a special to group to be successful while that happens.”And even though Allen had an off night offensively, White lauded his defense, where the guard spent most of Thursday’s game guarding East Tennessee State’s Desonta Bradford. Before Thursday, Bradford had a season average of 10.6 points per game and 47.4 percent shooting from the field. Allen held him to four points on 2-of-7 shooting.“It was going to be tough for us to score. He’s out best scorer,” Chiozza said.“But we can shut down any team. We just gotta play defense.”The Gators will have a more challenging task against Virginia on Saturday. They’ll likely need Allen to have a bounce-back performance against the Cavaliers, a […]