No. 24 Florida Gators men’s basketball (2-0) will face the Milwaukee Panthers (1-1) in the O’Connell Center Thursday night.
The game marks just the second time the two teams have played. The last time they faced each other was in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament when the Gators knocked out the Panthers en route to a National Championship.
The Gators will look to pick up where they left off after a 71-55 win against Florida State on Sunday. The Panthers are coming off their first loss of the season against Eastern Kentucky.
Gators Win Against FSU
The Gators beat the Seminoles on Sunday for the first time since 2013. Florida State had racked up seven straight wins in the rivalry, so it was Mike White’s first win against the Seminoles.
Florida trailed their in-state rival 30-28 at half but played excellent defense in the second half and pulled away late to win by double digits. The Gators went on a run for 13 straight points in the middle of the second half and eventually went for a 29-8 run to end the game.
Colin Castleton led the Gators with 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Anthony Duruji chipped in for 15 points of his own and seven rebounds.
With the win against the former No. 20 Seminoles, the Gators jumped to No. 24 in the country. And anyone on the basketball court on Sunday could tell you that this win was special for White and the Gators.
White said to have more locker room celebrations like that, though, they’ll have to stay focused.
That starts with their matchup against Milwaukee.
Prepping for the Panthers
The Milwaukee Panthers come into town led by one of the best players in the country, Patrick Baldwin Jr. A freshman and former five-star recruit, Baldwin is averaging 20.0 points per game and 10.5 rebounds through his first two games.
He chose Milwaukee over Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina, among others. A major catalyst for that decision was some excellent recruiting from the Panthers’ head coach, Patrick Baldwin. His father.
Baldwin is in his fifth season coaching Milwaukee and carries a 48-71 head coaching record into the matchup. He landed the best recruit the Panthers have likely ever seen in Baldwin Jr., but his team is filled with experienced, tough players.
Coach White had respect for the Panthers when asked what he expects out of the team.
The Panthers lost in their last game out, though, to Eastern Kentucky at home. Milwaukee found themselves down as many as 26 points to Eastern Kentucky and couldn’t climb back into the game.
Grad transfer Myreon Jones and the Gators are taking the Panthers seriously, though. He said they’ll have to try to lock Baldwin Jr. down.
They’ll look to bounce back in Gainesville, as they kick off a three-game road trip in Florida.
First tip will come at 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.