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Florida sees reasons for concern with Florida Atlantic coming to town

Sportsnaut
Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden coaches during the second half as Florida takes on Stoney Brook during an NCAA college basketball game at Steven C. O'Connell Center Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 81-45.(Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun)

Flgai Mbb Gators Vs Stoneybrook 01072803
Credit: Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Florida has played with good tempo and execution on offense in its first two games under head coach Todd Golden.

But the Gators will look to shore up some issues with defense and rebounding when they host Florida Atlantic on Monday night in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators (2-0) have averaged 84.5 points in their first two games and are shooting 50.9 percent from the field on the season. Colin Castleton, coming off a career-high 33 points in Florida’s 88-78 win over Kennesaw State on Friday night, is averaging 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.

Castleton’s 33 points against Kennesaw State were the most for a Gator since Jalen Hudson scored 33 points against LSU on March 6, 2019.

“Coach Golden is just instilling that confidence in me day in and day out,” Castleton said. “I feel like he’s one of the best coaches in the country in just giving his players confidence. He’s going to get on you but he’s also gonna show you a lot of love, as players we really like that, we relate to him really well.”

After holding Stony Brook to 45 points earlier in the week, Florida’s defense had issues containing Kennesaw State, allowing the Owls score 44 points in the second half while shooting 53.1 percent.

Florida also allowed Kennesaw State to grab 11 offensive rebounds despite having a significant size advantage.

“Our plan and our thought was if we can just punish them in the paint, that we would be in good shape,” Golden said. “We didn’t do a good enough job defending the paint, but offensively we scored 48 points in the paint. We did a good job that way.”

Florida Atlantic (1-1) is coming off an 80-67 loss at Ole Miss. The Owls have been balanced so far this season, with three players with double-figure scoring averages, led by 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Goldin, who is averaging 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds through FAU’s first two games this season.

“We hung around in the second half by playing more efficient on the offensive end,” Florida Atlantic head coach Dusty May said about the loss to the Rebels. “We just had too many self-inflicted wounds that we’ll clean up and fix.”

May, who is 67-57 in the midst of his fifth season, was a former assistant at Florida under Mike White from 2015-18. May’s son, Jack May, is a walk-on guard at Florida.

–Field Level Media