Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center | Gainesville, Fla.
Records: Florida: 1-0 | Stony Brook 0-1
* The Gators picked up a season-opening win in head coach Todd Golden’s debut on the bench. The 36-point margin of victory marked the largest in a Florida coaching debut, topping UF’s 34-point win in Tommy Bartlett’s debut (93-59, 12/1/66 at Jacksonville).
* Alex Fudge had a team-leading 16 points in his first game, besting his previous personal high of 14 from his freshman season at LSU. Will Richard chipped in 14 points on 4-for-5 shooting, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
* Colin Castleton added an all-around performance with 13 points, five rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.
* Seven players made their Florida debut, including transfers Trey Bonham, Alex Fudge, Kyle Lofton and Will Richard and freshmen Denzel Aberdeen, Riley Kugel and Aleks Szymczyk. Lofton and Richard also got the start in their initial appearance for the Orange and Blue.
* Both of Florida’s walk-ons scored their first career points in the closing minutes of action with Alex Klatsky knocking in a 3-pointer and Jack May scoring a put-back off an offensive rebound.
* The Gators got out of the gate quickly, starting the game on a 12-0 run and opening up a 22-3 lead over the first nine minutes of action. The Florida defense also clamped down out of the halftime break, limiting the Seawolves to one field goal in the first 11 minutes of second-half play.
Head Coach Todd Golden
On the win…
“It feels great. I thought we did a really good job of playing with purpose for forty minutes. They obviously went zone for forty, we weren’t exactly expecting that. We thought they would show it, but we weren’t expecting it for forty minutes. It just changed the complexation and kind of the way the game was started. After the first eight minutes of the game, I thought we did a good job of not settling for quick threes and really work the ball into the high post. Alex [Fudge] did a great job attacking in the first half in the high post. Collin [Castleton] did a really good job finding good shots for us. And then in the second half, we went 7-10 because we took the right ones. We did a good job going inside out. All of our threes in the second half were off of catch and shoots. We didn’t finish as well in the second half, but we played with good purpose for forty. Every guy that came in did a good job of staying within themselves and continuing to guard and rebound, which was really important.”
“We dominated the paint. We did a really good job on the glass, and we did a great job taking care of the ball. Those are the areas that don’t require a lot of talent, it’s more about being physical and having will and desire to go get it. My initial takeaway is really pleased in the second half. We are up by thirty and guys are still trying to play the right way. We don’t have guys going out there trying to get their baskets, being lazy defensively, tying to shoot lanes, gambling, and putting other guys in bad positions. We played really solidly for forty minutes.”
On the team’s depth…
“It’s the talent that holds everybody accountable. When you are trying to play a lot of guys, if one guy rolls his eyes or isn’t happy with his role, great. It makes my life easier. Then I only have to play ten instead of eleven and then it trickles down. That’s kind of my mentality. These guys have a lot of pride. Obviously, they’re all really talented, good players. We’ll see how long we can go with this kind of mentality. I think we can do it, but there’s going to be nights where we are only playing eight or nine guys. Once we get into that we’ll learn more about ourselves.”
5th Year F Colin Castleton
On team depth and everyone staying happy…
“You got to be all for the team…that’s the biggest thing coach Golden tells us, not everything’s going to go your way with basketball, that’s life too. Everything’s not going to go your way so, you just got to come in every day with the right mindset, the right attitude, and it’s just basketball at the end of the day so when you get your opportunity you got to be ready, and that’s what he just preaches, everybody has to be on the same page. That’s just the biggest thing we try to do is teach the other guys is you may get your shot this night, but then the next night you may not play as much, so being able to just be ready is good. Like you talked about depth, it’s going to help us throughout the year and you really need that when conference play comes. That’s like the biggest thing is just having the right mental mindset about it.”
On Alex Klatsky and Jack May scoring….
“Those guys work really hard, everybody knows it. Even though we all joke about it and stuff, everybody’s really appreciative of what the walk-ons do and they should get a share of their appreciation and how we appreciate them so it meant a lot. They got a little bit of piece of the pie tonight.”
Sophomore F Alex Fudge
On the zone defense..
“We expected the zone…I don’t think we expected it for 40 minutes but we knew it was coming. We prepared for it.”
On early defense..
“I feel as if we take pride in defense, and that’s something that we want to pick up in this program, we want to build on that and probably be one of the national leaders defensively…it’s a good thing when you playing defense.”
Sophomore G Will Richard
On lineup combinations….
“We have so many good guys that can play at any moment, so we knew we were going to be playing a lot of different lineups, and we knew it would be productive no matter what.”
On Alex Klatsky and Jack May scoring….
“That was the highlight of my night.”
On Coach Golden…
“Everybody’s bought into everything he’s been teaching us the past few months. Seeing how he believes in every one of us, the energy in practice every day is elite. Going out there and playing well for him that means a lot. We drenched him in water after the game, it means a lot.”