After what seems to have been a lifetime on the road, the Gators men’s basketball team returns to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center tonight to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. Florida has played only three home games in a span of 61 days, but now they’ll have their next four out of five games at home. UF is on an eight-game winning streak, their longest since the 2009-2010 season.
The Gators are currently ranked fourth in both major polls with a 16-2 record and a 6-0 mark in the SEC. Gators coach Billy Donovan said that as easy as it is to move up in rankings, it’s just as easy to fall back.
After leaving Kansas State to coach the Gamecocks, Frank Martin holds a 12-7 record and is 2-4 in SEC play in his first year. Donovan talked about the new coach’s team and the kind of ball club South Carolina has been up to this point in the season.
In the all-time series, Florida leads USC 39-22. Under Billy Donovan, Florida is 23-11 against the Gamecocks. Florida has won three straight in the series and 10 out of the last 13 games. The Gators have also won five out of their last six meetings against the Gamecocks in Gainesville.
UF keeps padding its defensive stats, having held 10 teams under 50 points, and holding 14 under 60. They’re allowing opponents an average 51 points a game, ranking them third in the nation in scoring defense and first in the SEC.
The Gators are averaging 73 points per game. They’re also first in the SEC in both field goal percentage, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the three point line. It will be interesting to see how UF shoots from the deep end due to South Carolina ranking second in the SEC in three point field goal percentage defense.
Leading Florida in scoring is senior guard Kenny Boynton with 13 PPG. He’s followed by senior forward Erik Murphy with 12 points on 55 percent from the floor and a team-leading 47 percent from three.
USC has three players scoring in double digits with junior guard Brenton Williams and senior guard LaShay Page averaging 11 PPG. However, the Gamecocks will be without their leading scorer Page the remainder of the season due to academic issues.
As always, you can catch all the action in Gators Men’s Hoops right here on ESPN Radio 850/900, starting with a one hour plus edition of The Cheap Seats with pregame coverage starting at 7:25 PM.