The Florida Gator men’s basketball team is rolling. The Orange and Blue has won 12 consecutive games after their road victory at Mississippi State Thursday. Now the Gators will focus on playing Texas A&M Saturday in Gainesville with a 7-0 conference record and an 18-2 mark overall.
Gator coach Billy Donovan wasn’t impressed by tFlorida’s performance in Starkville on Thursday when interviewed Friday.
“Yeah, I didn’t think we played great yesterday. Hopefully that in itself is an opportunity for us to grow and get better. I thought we played pretty well in the game against Tennessee here at home. We had three days, four days before our last game at Mississippi State. I thought at times we played really, really well in the game at both ends of the floor. And then there were some times I thought we played really, really poorly. So we’ve got a lot of room to grow and get better, and we need to play better [Saturday] than we did on Thursday night.”
Casey Prather put up 16 points on Thursday, and the senior forward is leading the Gators in scoring averaging 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior center Patric Young notched 12 points in the 62-51 victory.
“Our guys for the most part are great kids. They work very hard,” said Donovan. “They want to win. They’re very, very coachable. But like anything else, when you’re in a competitive situation, a competitive environment, there’s going to be breakdowns, there’s going to be mistakes. I just thought we had too many of them in terms of what we normally have done in the past. There’s areas for us to grow and get better from that.”
Saturday Florida tips off a three-game home stand against Texas A&M (12-8, 3-4). This is the Aggie’s first trip to Gainesville as members of the SEC, and the Gators will welcome them with a sold-out Stephen C. O’Connell Center, where Florida currently holds a school record of 26 straight home wins.
The Gators and the Aggies own the top two scoring defenses in the SEC (UF 58.5, TAMU 63). Florida will have to watch out for junior guard Jamal Jones. The 6’8″ Jones proved to be a threat against the Tennessee Volunteers (13-7, 3-2) earlier this month as the Aggies beat them 57-56 with Jones going 8-for-19 from the floor while scoring 23 points.
“I think they’re a very good team. They have a lot of different pieces. Jones is as good a player as there is in this league. Roberson for them is a veteran frontcourt player, he’s been in the league for a long, long time,” Donovan said. “Caruso’s a year older now, leading the league in assists. They have very, very good personnel. To their credit, they got a big win at Tennessee. They beat Arkansas at home. And they’ve had some really good, quality wins throughout the course of the season. So this has been my opinion, they’re a very good, talented basketball team.”
“We need to be focused.” Donovan said, with the quick Thursday-Saturday SEC play turnaround, the annoucement of Chris Walker’s debut in Florida’s next game (Tuesday’s Missouri match-up), and the Gators on a 12-game win streak.
Tip off is set for Saturday afternoon at 4pm in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center; you can hear the game live on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 3:25pm..