If I had told you prior to the game that the title of this article was going to be what you see above, how many of you would have been sure it was going to be about Chandler Parsons?
Count me among you. As I’m sure you are aware however, the senior I am referring to is not Parsons, but rather Alex Tyus.
On a night where our other big men like Macklin and Parsons looked lethargic, it was the most unlikely of Florida’s starters that took over the game. While Parsons was jogging to balls out by half court and giving up a transition bucket on the other end, and while Macklin was standing around watching his BYU counterpart repeatedly come down with easy defensive rebounds, Tyus played angry. Tyus went after the ball. Tyus attacked the rim.
Alex Tyus finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds, and you probably could have tacked on another 4 points and 2 rebounds to that were it not for a couple of bad foul calls that went against him late in the game.
This is the great thing about this Florida team. On any given night, any or all of their five starters can take over a game. Tonight was Tyus’ night, and he rose to the call.
Of course, he had some help. Wilbekin and Young played with great intensity on defense. Erving Walker was at his best, hitting his shots from the outside and doing a great job of getting into the lane and getting other people open looks. Macklin finally got things going on the offensive end late in the game, and while Parsons seemed gassed all night and had a long stretch in the 2nd half where he took (and missed) way too many jump shots rather than getting into the lane and using his height, he hit some big shots in the overtime and had some good dishes. Finally, Kenny Boynton continued to be one of the most quiet scorers in the country. As the game goes on it never jumps into your head that he’s having a great game, but then that stat line comes up and there are 17 or 20 points there. All of that added up to the Jimmer, who got the same disease that Parsons did late in the game and started launching distant threes even though he was having success in the lane, going home.
The Gators now head to the elite 8, where they’ll take on the winners of the Wisconsin/Butler game, and will need to correct a few things to keep the streak going.
For starters, they’ve got to stop settling for open jump shots for long stretches when they’re not falling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with our guys taking a lot of shots from the outside, but it seems like every game we fall into at least one 7-10 minute span where we just give up on going inside and start launching shots, which typically leads to a long scoring drought that gets the other team back in the game or gets us behind.
Secondly Macklin, for as good as he typically is, has got to play much stronger than he did tonight. BYU was not only a short team, they were a small team. There wasn’t much girth down there like there was against UCLA, yet still Macklin had trouble getting deep under the basket and only hauled in 5 rebounds on the night. More than that though, he’s got to play with strong hands. He gets way too many balls poked away from him by random slaps and jabs at the ball when he’s in the post or catching a pass.
The Gators have now won 10 of their last 11 games despite playing some pretty stiff competition in that stretch. Here’s to hoping they can make that 13 of 14 before all is said and done.