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Todd Golden speaks to media following road loss to Ole Miss, players also chime in

The Gators basketball squad took a pretty deep tumble on Wednesday night, losing its second consecutive conference game to Ole Miss, 103-85.

Florida’s defense fell apart early in the matchup and allowed the Rebels to record its first triple-digit game of the season. The free throw trips are still haunting the Gators while turnovers have been a consistent .50-caliber bullet to the foot in most contests.

Wednesday night was no different and the momentum Florida built throughout December is slowly becoming irrelevant.

Gators head coach Todd Golden briefly addressed the media during the post-game press conference and touched on what caused the team’s struggles against the Rebels on Wednesday night.

Florida guard Walter Clayton Jr. also shares his thoughts after a big night on the stat sheet, along with forward Alex Condon who completed a double-double with 15 rebounds.

What happened during the Ole Miss first-half run

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, we went to our bench, and I thought it was more the backcourt. We let the lead slip after the second media [timeout], as you mentioned, and I thought we battled to get that thing back to only a four-point game at halftime.

Credit to Ole Miss, the way they came out in the second half I thought they made a lot of really tough shots early, specifically (Allen) Flanigan hit two or three of those baseline fadeaways. Those are shots that we want him to take, and you’ve got to tip your cap that he was able to knock them down.

Once it snowballed a little bit, I didn’t think we did a good job pulling ourselves out. Obviously, our defensive effort tonight was atrocious, specifically in the second half. Again, this was a team that was coming off a really tough loss, and they responded really well. This was our first road game in the SEC, and we didn’t handle it very well.

Handling defensive pressure from Ole Miss

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

He did a good job of protecting the rim, and that’s something that’s going to be an issue for teams that play Ole Miss if he’s able to play with that physicality at the rim. He did a good job with the way that the game was played of protecting the rim, for sure.

Any positive takeaways from Ole Miss matchup?

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Not really in the second half. I think in the first half when the lead got to nine, we were able to cut that thing down. I thought we played with good poise at the end of the half to cut it to four and had the ball coming out (of the half).

But turnovers starting the second half kind of set the tone, and we didn’t do a good job of battling that way. So nothing that I can take right now that I’m excited about or happy about.

Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr: Playing against the Ole Miss defense

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

They definitely did a good job of pressuring us and taking us out of our stuff, but we knew that was coming. That’s how they play defense and we just weren’t able to run what we wanted to. On defense, they hit a lot of tough shots and got a lot of offensive rebounds.

Forward Alex Condon on the Gators' defensive effort

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

We’re not sticking to our defensive principles. There are too many times when guys just go off and do their own thing. We have to establish ourselves by being strong on the defensive end. Have some pride and not be happy taking the ball out of the net every possession.

Next up

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Florida are the Arkansas Razorbacks, who come to the O’Connell Center on Saturday, Jan. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 pm ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Read more

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire