Gonzaga and Florida make another impressive statement heading into conference play

As the Big 12/SEC Challenge wrapped up for another year on Tuesday night,

two games caught my attention:

Gonzaga held the nation’s hottest shooting team to only 44.3% shooting (27 of 61) at West Virginia.  Bob Huggins’ team has been shooting lights out prior to that loss at a sizzling 54.9 percent clip (just enough to melt any ice that is currently paralyzing the northern half of the United States).

Gonzaga won their fifth straight game and also won the rebounding battle, 43-36.  The final score was not really indicative of how the game finally turned out with the tally being 80-76.  Toran, Poland born center Przemek Karnowski led four Bulldogs in double figures with 19 points.  Only eight players saw action for Mark Few’s bunches.

Meanwhile at The Indoor Swamp in Gainesville, Billy Donovan is working his magic again.  The Gators came from behind after racing through a 21-0 run in the first half to lead 36-21 at the break. 

Kansas clawed its way out of the huge hole and made it 60-55 on Andrew Wiggins’ 3-pointer (the game’s high scorer with 26) with 55.8 seconds remaining.  It was his second 3 in the final 80 seconds of the game.  Florida closed it out from the free-throw line — barely.

The Gators made 20 of 34 free throws overall, including 9 of their last 11 attempts.

Kansas got it as close as 65-61 with 10.9 seconds left. Florida’s Kasey Hill ended any chance of a comeback by icing the contest with two free throws.

Aside from Wiggins, who made 7 of 15 shots, Kansas had no one else score in double figures.  24 turnovers did the Jayhawks in, so Florida should be moving on up from #19 while Kansas stood at #13 in the latest CBSSports.com RPI poll.

The biggest culprit for the Jayhawks was committing 24 turnovers. Many of those came right out of the starting blocks.

Other games of note:

Xavier overcame a poor shooting short to edge out Evansville at home, 63-60 while IPFW (Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne for you keeping alphabet soup scoring) won at Bradley to go to 8-4 in this young season winning 65-61.

Kentucky and California also won at home without too much trouble.

Wednesday’s schedule has North Dakota State visiting snowy and very chilly South Bend to take Notre Dame, while the I-94 matchup will occur in the Badger State as Wisconsin-Milwaukee tangles with the #4 ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center.

Przemek Karnowski

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