UF Men’s Hoops Seek Second Win In February Tuesday Night At Missouri

The Florida Gator men’s basketball team will be looking to right the ship on Tuesday night when they travel to Columbia to meet the Missouri Tigers.

With just four games left in the regular season the Gators will be looking to put together any sort of momentum as the SEC Tournament approaches. Luckily for the Gators they will be facing off with quite possibly the worst team in the SEC.

The Tigers (7-20, 1-13) enter this game dead last in the conference having lost 13 straight games. This will be the first meeting between the two schools this season and the fifth all-time.

The Gators (13-14, 6-8) are coming in fresh off a seven point loss to the LSU Tigers and haven’t fared much better in recent weeks having lost five of their last six. On Tuesday night the Gators will once again be without their top two scorers. Junior shooting guard Michael Frazier II will miss his fifth straight game with an ankle injury, while redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith will miss his second straight game after being suspended for a violation of team rules.

This means Billy Donovan’s squad will once again need “others” to step up in order for the team to find success. Against the Tigers, the Gators did finish with two players in double figures but Donovan notes his guys have been unable to play well for an entire 40 minutes.

“There are times when we play really, really good basketball, but then there are times when we don’t. I think they are battling, fighting and trying to do it, but we are just not able to do “it”, so to speak, long enough.”

The Gators have been struggling to find sufficient offense as they are currently shooting an abysmal 43 percent from the field, which ranks them 192nd in the country. With Frazier and Finney-Smith out, the team is shooting a poor 25 percent from beyond the arc. While the Gators will be going into this next game with their top scorer averaging just 8.9 points per game, Donovan knows his team his still capable of putting up points.

“We are challenged on offense; we are. I think if you look at the guys that are playing and you look at shooting percentages from the three-point, free throw and field, it’s a struggle. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful. What it means is that you have to be really committed to the things you have control over.”

The Tigers, despite being in the midst of one of their worst seasons ever, should pose a tough threat to the Gators. Despite just the seven wins, all of the Tigers victories have come inside Mizzou Arena. The Tigers are currently led by sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III who is averaging 12.4 points on the year. The underclassmen is tied for the team lead in blocks with 16 and leads the team in rebounds with 189 and Donovan notes his team will have to key in on him.

“He can catch it with his back to the basket and make post moves. He can catch it, step away from the basket and shoot threes. So, there is really nothing that he can’t do wherever he catches the ball that he can go make a play.”

A win on Tuesday night will be very important with the Gators looking to position themselves in a much better draw for the SEC Tournament. A win will also bring the Gators back to .500 on the season and if the team has any sort of postseason aspirations, every game will be make or break.

Donovan is also still stuck on 499 career wins and a win on Tuesday night would make Donovan the second fastest man to reach that mark, behind Bob Knight. That 500th win would without a doubt be the shining moment in the midst of a down year, and this game against one of the league’s worst, should be the Gators best chance of making that accomplishment happen.

Tip-off between the Gators and Tigers is set for 9 pm and you can hear all the action of Tuesday’s game on Country 103-7 the Gator with coverage starting at 8:25.

For the audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Donovan talks about his team playing 40 minutes of good basketball

Donovan talks about the offense

Donovan talks about Jonathan Williams III

 

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