After a bounce-back victory over Charleston Southern last week, the Florida Gators will host the La Salle Explorers on Wednesday night.
What to Expect From La Salle
The Explorers are 0-2 on the season after close losses to Temple and Lafayette. They are led by Pookie Powell and Isiah Deas.
Powell, a sixth-year senior guard from Orlando, has been one of La Salle’s go-to scorers for the past three years. As a junior, he averaged 16.9 points, 4.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. This year he has upped his scoring average to 20.0 points and is taking 6.5 free throw attempts per game. He loves to attack the rim and create contact.
La Salle’s head coach Ashley Howard offered high praise for Powell.
Deas has taken the biggest leap this year for La Salle. He has been inserted into a prominent role for the Explorers after losing their leading scorer from last year in B.J. Johnson. Deas is averaging 19.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50% (8-16 overall) from beyond the arc.
The Explorers have really struggled to rebound the ball. They have been out-rebounded by 17.0 rebound per game, including giving up a total of 26 offensive rebounds. La Salle only has two rotation players over 6’8”. This will likely be a big problem playing against a Florida team with legitimate size all across the board.
Ashley Howard acknowledged that rebounding is currently a major issue for his team.
Florida head coach Mike White has made it clear to his guys that even with the Battle 4 Atlantis looming, they can’t overlook a formidable opponent in La Salle.
White mentioned that the Explorers have experienced and talented players.
What to Expect From Florida
Mike White should not have any issues exploiting the weaknesses of the Explorers. The Gators should be able to dominate the offensive and defensive glass, which will give them numerous second chance opportunities.
Florida also has the ability to play 12 or 13 different men on any given night which is a major advantage. While it’s evident that the Gators hold the edge in the frontcourt, the Explorers have the ability to be competitive in the backcourt.
Ashley Howard knows it will take high-level performances from Powell and Deas to keep pace with the Gators.
Howard discussed the elite talent that resides in Florida’s backcourt.
The Gators must win the guard battle on Wednesday night in order to seize control of the game.
Florida is currently a 16.5-point favorite on their home floor.
When and Where?
The game will be played on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in Gainesville. It is being aired on SEC Network+ and can also be listened to on Gator IMG Sports Network.