Preview: Gators Look to Bounce Back against Charleston Southern in Home Opener

After an 81-60 blowout loss to Florida State, the Gators will try and get their first win of the season on Friday night against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers.

Florida Looking for Improvement on Offense

Not much went well for the Gators offensively on Tuesday in Tallahassee.

Coach Mike White told the media “defensively we weren’t horrific” and that he was “shocked” at the team’s inability to score the ball. They shot 37% from the field and hit just 6 of their 24 attempts from three. The team struggled to move the ball and accounted for 16 turnovers and just 9 assists.

While Charleston Southern doesn’t offer the same challenges as a stout Florida State team, the Gators’ offense has to really focus on executing on offense going forward.

White also said “we’ve got to find more consistency, get our guys playing a little more confidently, and share the ball better.”

After such a poor offensive performance, it’s hard to see how the team would play any worse against CSU.

Gators Need More from the Veterans

For the Gators to be successful, they need more from Jalen Hudson, Kevaughn Allen, Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone.

The four of them combined for just 21 points. Senior Kevaughn Allen had one the worst performances of his college career. He finished the game with zero points on 0-4 shooting along with 2 assists and one rebound. Hudson went just 3-10 for 11 points.

So much of Florida’s offense relies on the scoring ability of Allen and Hudson, and they need to be much better than they were against the Seminoles. When asked about Allen’s scoreless performance, White said, “He didn’t get a lot of open looks, and we need to help him with that.” Stone and Hayes combined for 10 points and 14 rebounds, but they had 4 turnovers each.

The Positives

While there aren’t too many positives to take from Tuesday’s loss, there are some. Mike White expressed that he was happy with the team’s rebounding in the loss. He expects the team to be more physical than they have been in the last few years.

Point guard Andrew Nembhard had a solid debut despite the circumstances. He finished with 12 points and 4 assists. White said that Nembhard played with “a lot of toughness and character.” Another positive was the bench scoring from Deaundrae Ballard, who led the team in scoring with 13 points.

Moving forward, the team will try to match their physicality with better execution on offense. The team can also expect more contributions from their freshman class as they get more comfortable on the court.

What to Expect from Charleston Southern

The Buccaneers went 15-16 last season. They are coming off a 100-68 win in their season opener. Florida will be focused on Christian Keeling, the junior guard who has average over 17 points per game over the last two seasons.

The Buccaneers struggle on the defensive end. As a team, they gave up 75.6 points per game last season, which ranked 261st in the nation for that statistic. This is an opponent that the Gators should be able to build some confidence against.