Nembhard scores 24 as Gators beat Aggies 78-61
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Florida coach Mike White raved about his team’s performance on offense after the Gators routed Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
“We really moved the ball well,” he said. “It was the best we’ve moved the ball all year. That’s as well as we’ve played offensively all year.”
Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points and Florida used a big run early in the second half to take control of the game and cruise to the 78-61 win.
Noah Locke added 21 points for the Gators (15-9, 7-4 Southeastern Conference), who bounced back from a close loss to Ole Miss in their last game.
“For us to come in here and score 78, obviously we did a lot well offensively,” White said. “With this team we’ve struggled at times against really good defenses, especially on the road. So that’s about as well as we’ve played.”
Texas A&M (11-12, 5-6) cut its deficit to two points on a 3-pointer by Emanuel Miller early in the second half before the Gators used a 14-4 run to make it 53-41 with about 11 minutes to go. Keyontae Johnson scored six points during that span. The 6-foot-5 sophomore finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds — his second consecutive double-double — and a career-high six assists.
Texas A&M’s only points in that stretch came on free throws as the Aggies went almost eight minutes without making a field goal.
“Their team is so good,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “They put stress on you in every possible way.”
It was Miller who finally made A&M’s next basket, but it didn’t get the Aggies going and the Gators went on a 10-2 run after that to make it 63-45 with 7 1/2 minutes to go. Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann made 3-pointers to lead Florida in that run.
Locke made five 3-pointers for the Gators to give him at least one 3 in 22 straight games, which is tied for the 10th-longest streak in school history.
Miller had 19 points for the Aggies, who lost their second straight game and for the third time in four games.
Williams was disappointed that Florida got 14 offensive rebounds on 25 missed shots.
“That’s hard for any team to overcome,” he said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Florida: The Gators showed flashes of solid play, especially in the second half when they took over the game, but they will need to limit their mistakes and turnovers as they continue SEC play. They had 14 turnovers on Wednesday night.
Texas A&M: The Aggies have to find a way to be more effective on offense and simply can’t go minutes at a time without a basket if they hope to get on track.
BLACKSHEAR FACING BUZZ
Kerry Blackshear Jr. had eight points and three rebounds. Blackshear played for Williams at Virginia Tech last season before joining the Gators as a graduate transfer.
White said he asked Blackshear earlier in the week if he’d have any added emotion in facing his former coach and he told him he wasn’t even thinking about that.
“He said: ‘we need a ‘W’ I’m more concerned about how we’re playing and how I can help this team win,’” White said. “He’s a really really good kid ... and I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
Florida hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Texas A&M hosts Georgia on Saturday.
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