N. Carolina A&T-Florida Preview

Florida’s sloppiness caught up to it in its first game against a

ranked opponent.

The ninth-ranked Gators look to bounce back Thursday night at

home when they meet North Carolina A&T for the first time.

Florida (1-1) wasn’t sharp with 15 turnovers in a 77-60 win over

North Carolina-Wilmington in last Friday’s opener. The Gators had

18 more turnovers Tuesday in a 93-75 loss to No. 4 Ohio State.

“Our turnovers opened the game up,” coach Billy Donovan told the

Gators’ official website. “It’s a huge concern for me, it really

is, because I think a lot of that has to do with discipline. I

thought we got stagnant. The biggest key for our team is can we

become more disciplined and can we make good decisions in what

we’re doing.”

Florida shot 61.2 percent and had four starters in double

figures. The Gators led by as many as seven points in the first

half and by three at the break before the Buckeyes used a 55-point

second half to take control.

“They started jumping on us,” forward Chandler Parsons said.

“They started hitting some shots. We didn’t start executing. We

weren’t very disciplined on offense. It’s early and it’s a learning

experience. To play a team that good early on, hopefully it turns

out to be a good thing us.”

Kenny Boynton scored a team-high 21 points and Parsons had 13

and seven rebounds. Point guard Erving Walker added 15 points, but

had seven turnovers. Walker has four assists and nine turnovers

this season.

“To lose the last 10 minutes just hopefully helps our guys

understand how far we have to go to be a complete team for 40

minutes,” Donovan said.

The Gators have split their last six non-conference home games

after winning 23 of their previous 24.

Although Florida has never faced North Carolina A&T (1-2),

the Gators are 21-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic

Conference. The Gators have beaten at least one MEAC opponent in

each of the previous eight seasons.

The Aggies opened with road losses to the Buckeyes, 102-61 last

Friday and 84-61 to Morehead State on Sunday. They won their home

opener over Division III North Carolina Wesleyan, 100-66 on

Tuesday.

Senior center Thomas Coleman had 17 points and 13 rebounds for

his second straight double-double to lead all five starters in

double figures.

“We started the season with Ohio State who is No. 5 in the

nation and Morehead State who is picked to win the (Ohio Valley

Conference),” coach Jerry Eaves said. “That was a tough way to

start the season. This was a very good game for us because it gave

us a good feel about ourselves, and it gave us some success.”

Eaves is in his ninth season as coach of the Aggies, and is 0-3

against SEC foes and 0-8 against the Top 25.