Gators look to remain undefeated at home
Tune into FOX Sports Florida at 7 p.m. to watch the Florida Gators take on UAB.
While Florida has encountered nothing but trouble on the road this season, the Gators remain undefeated on their home court.
Seeking a 14th consecutive victory at the O’Connell Center, No. 13 Florida concludes its non-conference schedule Tuesday night against UAB.
The Gators (11-3), who fell 81-74 at then-No. 3 Ohio State on Nov. 15 and 72-68 at then-No. 4 Syracuse on Dec. 2, dropped to 0-3 as the visiting team with an 85-83 double-overtime defeat to Rutgers on Thursday.
Though Florida could be in for another tough test when it visits Tennessee for Saturday’s SEC opener, coach Billy Donovan’s team should have a good chance to keep rolling at home Tuesday given its recent domination there.
The Gators have outscored opponents by an average of 20.6 points during their run in Gainesville, which reached 13 with a 90-70 win over Yale on Saturday. Florida shot 53.4 percent from the floor and a season-high 57.1 percent (12 of 21) from 3-point range.
“I thought it was one of the best games we’ve played this year,” Donovan said. “Coming out of the Rutgers game and as bad as we were … and on a one-day prep, I was really proud of them.
“We’re figuring it out. They (players) are all getting better.”
UAB coach Mike Davis has also seen plenty of improvement from his team, which has won three straight and four of five following a 1-6 start. The Blazers have averaged 19.8 turnovers in the last six contests, but they’ve shot 53.7 percent from the field and outrebounded opponents 129-76 during their winning streak.
“We’re getting better,” Davis said. “We are still struggling turning the ball over, but we certainly have more confidence shooting the ball. We are rebounding the ball well. When you can do those two things consistently, you are going to give yourself a chance.”
UAB (5-7) overcame 17 turnovers to post its highest scoring output in almost a year in a 92-58 rout of Alabama A&M on Saturday. Ovie Soko had a season-high 17 points and a career-best 15 rebounds while Cameron Moore, who leads the team 14.6 points per game, scored 16 on 7-of-8 shooting to go along with nine boards.
The Blazers are averaging just 49.2 points on the road, where they opened 0-4 before defeating George Washington 56-49 on Wednesday. Moore had 19 points and a school-record 24 rebounds.
UAB has committed 23 turnovers in each of its last three road matchups and will likely need to take better care of the ball if it hopes to keep up with Florida. The Gators, paced by junior Kenny Boynton, rank in the top five in the nation with 85.9 points per game.
Boynton scored 26 for the second time in as many games Saturday and shot 8 of 12 and 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. The guard is shooting 50.6 percent on the season and 45.5 percent on 3s to rank near the top of the conference in both categories.
“He’s efficient, he’s shooting a good percentage,” Donovan said. “To me that’s the sign of a great scorer. There’s a lot of guys who can score if they get a lot of shots.”
Florida and UAB have split their two meetings, with the then-No. 3 Gators winning 75-70 in the most recent matchup Dec. 30, 2006.
The Blazers have dropped 16 consecutive road matchups with Top 25 foes by an average of 14.8 points since knocking off then-No. 20 Marquette 65-52 on Jan. 7, 1998.