Gainesville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Gators continue their three- game homestand on Monday night, as they entertain the Southern University Jaguars in non-conference action.
Southern, which represented the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, is off to a disappointing 1-3 start, although its first win came in its last outing at North Florida on Saturday night, 87-78.
Florida has earned its place in the national rankings thanks to a strong returning core which has helped the team win two of the last three SEC regular-season championships. After claiming a 77-69 decision in their season opener versus North Florida, the Gators dropped a difficult road test at nationally-ranked Wisconsin, 59-53. They pulled ahead to 2-1, as they barely broke a sweat versus Arkansas-Little Rock at home this past Saturday, winning 86-56.
The Gators won the only previous meeting between the two programs, 83-27, at the O'Connell Center on Nov. 28, 2006. That matchup still holds as the UF record for fewest points allowed in a game during the shot-clock era.
The Jaguars found their shooting stroke at UNF on Saturday, as they made good on 31-of-59 attempts from the field (.525) in a game they led by as many as 17 points. Calvin Godfrey shined in the triumph, netting 25 points while adding 12 rebounds and four blocks. Yondarius Johnson provided a spark off the bench with 21 points on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, while Damien Goodwin (13 points) was also outstanding in a reserve role, making all five of his field goal attempts. The impressive performance allowed Southern's offensive numbers on the season (72.8 ppg, .431 FG percentage) to rise a bit. Despite making just 38 percent of his field goal attempts, Malcolm Miller (14.0 ppg) is the team's top scorer, with Johnson (13.3 ppg) hot on his heels. Godfrey (13.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.5 bpg) is a sturdy presence in the paint, while Christopher Hyder (2.5 ppg) hands out 5.3 assists per game.
The Gators did what was expected of them on Saturday as they dominated both ends of the floor against UALR. They outshot the Trojans, 51.7 percent to 36.1 percent, and won the turnover battle, 18-9. Casey Prather missed only one of his 11 field goal attempts en route to 27 points, just one point of his career high. Dorian Finney-Smith (17 points, nine rebounds) nearly tallied a double- double off the bench, Kasey Hill (14 points, six assists, five steals) had a strong showing out on the perimeter, and Patric Young added 10 points and eight boards. In addition to scoring 72.0 points per game on 46 percent field goal efficiency, Florida has played outstanding defense, holding its opponents to under 40 percent from the field while forcing 16.3 turnovers per game. Prather (22.3 ppg) has emerged as the go-to scorer thanks to his outstanding shooting effort (.676). Michael Frazier (17.0 ppg) has been on point from beyond the arc (8-of-17), and Hill (11.0 ppg) has handed out 14 assists paired with only four turnovers.