Florida opened the season by scoring at least 100 points in the first two games for the first time in its history and looks to continue that dominance when New Hampshire pays a visit on Sunday night. The Gators scored 116 against Gardner-Webb on Monday and rolled to a 108-68 victory over North Florida on Thursday, but they know improvement on the other end of the court is needed to reach their goals.
“We can be dangerous scoring and we can go deep on our bench, but we don’t want to hang our hat on offense,” Florida junior guard Jalen Hudson told reporters. “We’ll give ourselves a chance every night if we just sit down and guard.” Gators coach Mike White said the team’s defensive intensity was better in the second game and it is important to maintain that level while continuing to execute on offense. Florida has had no problem putting the ball in the basket and Rice transfer Egor Koulechov has led the way while averaging 23.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists in the first two contests. New Hampshire opened with a win over Division III Wheelock College before dropping a 78-60 decision at Texas on Tuesday, a game in which coach Bill Herrion told reporters, “We didn’t have enough players play well.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE (1-1): The top three scorers for the Wildcats are all seniors, led by Tanner Leissner (18 points, 10 rebounds) and fellow 6-7 forward Jacoby Armstrong (13.5 points, 11-for-14 from the field). Iba Camara, a 6-9 senior from Senegal, contributes 11 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding (8.0) after recording a double-double against Texas. Freshman guard Elijah Jordan has filled the stat sheet in his first two games, averaging 6.5 points, four rebounds, four assists and 1.5 steals while making 5-of-11 from the field.
ABOUT FLORIDA (2-0): Koulechov has drained 8-of-14 from 3-point range in the first two games and the Gators are connecting on 48.1 percent from behind the arc while making 55.4 percent of their shots overall. Hudson (14.0 points) is 11-for-19 from the field in his first two games since transferring from Virginia Tech and freshman guard Deaundrae Ballard is averaging 13 points out of the gate. Junior guard KeVaughn Allen had a rough season debut, but rebounded with 18 points against North Florida on 6-of-10 shooting (4-of-7 from 3-point range).
1. Florida sophomore F Keith Stone has made 7-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
2. New Hampshire has drained 25-of-31 free throws in its first two games of the season.
3. The Gators have won all three previous meetings, but the clubs have not met since 2001.
PREDICTION: Florida 96, New Hampshire 52