UF MEN'S BASKETBALL
Making a point
Guard play may decide outcome
Published: Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 12:08 a.m.
Anthony Roberson remembered how quiet C.J. Watson was when the two point guards went face-to-face for the first time last season.
- Kevin Brockway
Roberson was a freshman guard coming off the bench for Florida. Watson was a freshman starter at Tennessee.
"There was no trash talk or anything like that," Roberson said. "He just went about his business."
The focus will again be on the point when Florida plays its Southeastern Conference home opener against Tennessee this afternoon at the O'Connell Center. Roberson, now a starter, is averaging 15.6 points and 3.5 assists per game. Watson leads the SEC in assists (6.7 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.91:1).
The two players, considered the top two point guards in the SEC coming into the season, have held to form.
"Roberson is an exceptional player, but you can't get too caught up in the matchup because Florida has an entire team of stars," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said.
Watson has quietly and efficiently run the Tennessee offense, getting the ball inside to junior center Brandon Crump and on the wing to forward Scooter McFadgon.
"You're concerned, not only because of the assists but because his assist-to-turnover ratio is the best in the league," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "He really does a good job running their offense and can be a scorer for them as well, so he's someone you definitely have to account for."
Roberson is ready for the challenge.
"I have a lot of respect for him," Roberson said. "You take a look at the assists, and he has a lot of people to dish the ball to with Crump and McFadgon. I'd like to be able to get my assist total up too, but there are some nights where I have to score."
McFadgon, a transfer from Memphis, is leading the SEC in scoring at 19.8 points per game. He tied a career-high with 31 points and made 6 of 9 3-point attempts during Tennessee's SEC opener - an 89-65 rout of Georgia.
McFadgon also leads the conference in 3-point shooting accuracy (45.5 percent) and free-throw shooting percentage (45.5).
"He has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble, and he's a tremendous shooter," Donovan said. "That makes him tough to defend."
Roberson was held to just five points in Florida's SEC opener, a 65-62 win at South Carolina on Wednesday. Early foul trouble cut into his minutes. He sat out the final 15 minutes of the first half and didn't get back into the flow of the game in the second.
Against Watson, Florida may go to different options on defense in order to keep Roberson from picking up quick fouls.
"We have to be more of a help defense against him," Donovan said. "It's not like last year where you had a Justin Hamilton and told him, `OK, you stick on him.' We have to do a lot more with rotations to get different guys in different positions in order to help contain him."
Kevin Brockway can be reached at 374-5054 or at email@example.com.
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