After getting his 100th win as Marquette head coach two games prior to his team’s trip to Gainesville, Buzz Williams had another unique achievement against Florida last Thursday.
“I’ve never been beat this bad in my entire career,” Williams told Steve “Homer” True and Jim McIlvaine of the Marquette Basketball Radio Network. “179 games as a head coach, that’s the worst loss, not close.”
His team’s 82-49 loss to the Gators was not a pretty one for the Golden Eagles and had few positives for Williams’ team.
“It wasn’t us,” Williams said. “But, again, some of us not being us is because of Florida. I don’t want to say that we got beat as bad just because of us. It was them and a combination of how we responded to them, but it’s definitely not how we want to play.”
Williams’ team was within six points at 23-17 but went into halftime down 38-24. After a 9-0 run to start the second half by Florida, the game was out of reach for Marquette. The Golden Eagles shot 37.9 percent from the field in the first half and didn’t score in the second half until there was 15:09 left.
On offense, Marquette committed 14 turnovers, which Florida turned into 22 points. The Golden Eagles were also out-rebounded, 37-23, and allowed the Gators to grab 13 offensive rebounds. The hosts also shot 50.9 percent from the field. Marquette only shot nine free throws, which Williams said was the lowest total during his tenure at Marquette.
Florida dominated Marquette just as much on the stat sheet as on the scoreboard.
“They played harder than we did and deserved to win,” said junior guard Vander Blue, who added that his knee was sore but OK. “That is Florida basketball. It’s what happens in big-time basketball when you don’t come to play. All praise to Florida. They were better.”
Junior Will Yeguete had 11 points and seven rebounds while starting for the Gators, and fellow junior Patric Young had a monster game all over the stat sheet off the bench. In just 22 minutes, he had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while dishing out three assists, blocking three shots and gathering two steals.
“I think they’re this good,” Williams said. “I was saying that before we left Milwaukee. I think they’re good enough to win the whole thing. I think this atmosphere is great.”
The one positive for Marquette was Blue’s performance. His 20 points and four rebounds were impressive for the junior, who missed the team’s previous game on Monday night against UMBC.
In a game in which some Golden Eagle players had their worst games in recent memory on the stat sheet, Blue continued what has been an impressive season.
“I thought he was the only one who showed up and gave us any production,” Williams said. “I thought he had energy. I thought he had a great spirit. Obviously his numbers were really good. He’s the only one who got what he’s been getting in some way or another.”
In another positive from the game, the Golden Eagles will have plenty of time to recover from this loss before their next game, on Dec. 8 against Wisconsin-Madison.