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Florida’s game-high scorer talks win over East Carolina

Florida basketball escaped with a 70-65 win over the East Carolina Pirates on Thursday night in the Florida Tip-Off event held in Lakeland. The victory improved the Gators to 7-3 on the season along with a 3-0 mark in December after a tough opening month.

The Orange and Blue’s top contributor, Walter Clayton Jr, led all scorers with 22 points, while three other Gators notched double digits. Florida’s largest lead was just 11 points with 2:54 remaining in the first half but it still managed to go wire-to-wire in this one, never surrending its advantage.

Following the win, Florida’s standout guard spoke with the sports media about his performance. Take a look below at an abridged version of that Q&A on Thursday night.

On his performance

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

First half I felt good out there. My teammates were finding me so give some credit to them. They were just finding me and the shots were going in.

On returning to Lakeland's basketball venue

Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun
Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun

It felt great. Obviously, I’ve never lost here so that’s always a good feeling, just adding to the win column in this building.

What it's like being at Florida after two years with Iona

AP Photo/The Gainesvile Sun, Michael C. Weimar
AP Photo/The Gainesvile Sun, Michael C. Weimar

Weather. I walk outside and it’s sunny every day. But, no, just the environment. There’s just a little different environment walking in every day. Very close-knit here, a family. Just a different environment.

What is has been like for him after becoming a father

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This week, my back hurts a little bit from sleeping on that hospital bed, that coach that they had in there for me. But it’s just been good. Everything went well, healthy baby, my girl healthy so it’s just been good.

How he’s improved during his collegiate career

Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images
Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images

I’m a lot better mentally for sure. I would say I’ve learned a lot of things from being up (in New York) with coach (Rick Pitino) at Iona and then being here with coach Golden at Florida so I’m just continuing to learn and get better.

Was he thinking about his unbeaten streak playing in Lakeland?

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

No, not really. Obviously, it felt good to come back home but I wouldn’t say that was on my mind. I’m thinking about winning every game so just coming in and adding to the win column.

Next up

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Florida are the Michigan Wolverines, who will face the Gators in Charlotte, North Carolina, for this year’s Jumpman Invitational on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Read more

Five takeaways from Florida’s win vs East Carolina Pirates

What Todd Golden had to say after close win over East Carolina

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire