UF Men’s Hoops Look To End Three Game Skid At Texas A&M

The Florida Gator men’s basketball team will look to end their three game losing streak on Saturday night as they travel to College Station to meet the Texas A&M Aggies.

This will be the first match up between the two teams this season and just the fifth overall, with the Gators currently leading the series 4-1. Florida is 3-0 against the Aggies under head coach Billy Donovan with the last meeting between the two coming last February in a game the Gators dominated 69-36.

The Gators (12-12, 5-6) are coming into this game in the midst of their second three game losing streak in SEC play with their latest loss coming just two nights ago to the Ole Miss Rebels. The Gators fell in disappointing fashion on yet another shot in the final seconds and Donovan notes that it’s these rough patches that you learn a lot about your team.

“When you go through this as a coach you find out who really cares, who it’s really important to and then some of the stuff weeds other stuff out where some guys aren’t quite committed and some of these things really weed themselves out. So I really like some of these situations as a coach so you can find more things about your team.”

The Gators struggled once again from the floor shooting 37 percent from the field and an even worse 33 percent from beyond the arc. However, despite not having Michael Frazier II, their leading scorer, Florida did manage to have at least one other player step up.

Freshman forward Devin Robinson has struggled some at times in his first season but Donovan gave him a chance to start with the absence of Frazier on Thursday night and he would deliver. Robinson posted his best numbers of the season finishing with 14 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the field. Robinson also totaled seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks but Donovan now questions what his freshman will show moving forward.

“If Devin Robinson doesn’t come in here with a high sense of humility now after playing the way he did then he’s setting himself up for failure. I think really good players have a high sense of humility and understanding in competitive situations how one day to the next it can totally change.”

Outside of Robinson and redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith, who also led the Gators with 14 against the Rebels, the team is still in search of other playmakers. With Frazier out, Florida is finding it very difficult to get significant scoring out of their guards. Against Ole Miss, point guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza, and shooting guard Eli Carter shot just 28 percent from the floor and the team will need to see more success from them in order to get back on track.

Many of these guys haven’t been used to the struggles in which they are experiencing this season but Donovan says that sometimes a team’s failures can have a positive effect down the road.

“There are certain guys that may not get better from this, but I do believe that the most important area in your life for growth is adversity. The tougher or harder that things are, I think you have a chance to grow the best. If things are easy, there’s no growth there and I think a lot of times when you go through trial, tribulations and adversity most people want to avoid those things because they are painful. But if you really look at them for what they are, at some point in time in your life, as painful as those situations are I really learned a lot and I’m better for it.”

The Aggies (16-7, 7-4) will also be coming into this game fresh off a loss after falling to the Georgia Bulldogs at home by a final score of 62-53. Despite having a much better season than the Gators and sitting squarely in the race for a spot in the NCAA tournament, Billy Kennedy’s squad will be looking for a much needed win. The Aggies currently sit 3-1 against RPI 51-100 teams and a win over a team in the top 75 could be very beneficial.

The Aggies are third in the SEC shooting just under 46 percent from the field per game. Texas A&M is led by junior guards Danuel House and Jalen Jones who average 14 and 13 points respectively. The Aggies have won seven of their last nine conference games and Donovan boasts about the talent they possess.

“I think one of the better teams in our league. I think the addition of House and Jones have really helped their team. I think they’re very well balanced, I think they have depth out on the perimeter and depth of front. They’re older and I think House in particular has really given them some explosive scoring out on the perimeter.”

Both teams will be looking to get back on track with a much needed win inside the SEC and the momentum that will be sure to follow as these teams begin this final stretch of the regular season.

You can hear all the action of Saturday’s game on Country 103.7 The Gator with coverage starting at 5:55 followed by tip at 6:30.

To hear the audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Billy Donovan talks about the good experiences of trials and tribulations

Billy Donovan talks about Mississippi State

Billy Donovan talks about Devin Robinson continuing his success

Billy Donovan talks about the hardships the team is facing

Billy Donovan talks about the team and what he sees during their tough stretches

 

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