After their roaring start to the season stumbled into a ditch, the Florida Gators are hoping to reorient themselves as they approach their Southeastern Conference opener next week.
The Gators (8-3) have one more chance to reestablish positive momentum Wednesday afternoon when they host Stony Brook (7-4) in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida has shot less than 40 percent from the field in three of its past four games. The Gators are struggling from 3-point range, making just 29 percent over the past four games.
But during a 66-55 win over South Florida this past Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic, the Gators delivered a solid rebounding and defensive effort led by Colin Castleton’s 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gators outrebounded the Bulls 45-27 and finished with an 18-7 edge in offensive rebounds. Anthony Duruji also had 11 points and nine rebounds.
“When we’re solid on defense and don’t turn the ball over, that gives us a chance to win any game,” Duruji said. “Defense is our identity.”
Stony Brook arrives with a four-game winning streak. Jahlil Jenkins, who has earned America East Conference Player of the Week honors two consecutive weeks, is averaging 18.3 points a game during the streak.
Jenkins (14.6 points per game) and Anthony Roberts (14.8) lead the Seawolves in scoring and average 2.8 assists apiece.
After starting at Farleigh Dickinson for four seasons, Jenkins became one of four active Division-I players with 1,800 points and 500 assists during his career Saturday when he scored 15 points to lead the Seawolves to a 64-63 win over Saint Peter’s.
Tyler Stephenson-Moore, however, delivered the key play when he blocked Daryl Banks III’s shot at the buzzer to seal the win.
“For him to not foul and block it clean is amazing because he got beat on the dribble a little bit,” Stony Brook coach Geno Ford said. “The toughness of him and certainly our team has had a lot of growth so we’re very excited that we were able to win this one.”
–Field Level Media