Final warmup before SEC

Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 6:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 6:56 p.m.

Florida showed signs of Southeastern Conference readiness in its impressive win over the weekend against Temple.

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Florida freshman guard Nick Calathes had 14 points and eight assists against Temple last Saturday.

Brandon Kruse/The Gainesville Sun

But with the non-conference schedule wrapping up tonight at home against High Point, coach Billy Donovan would like to see his team take another positive step.

"We came out with a lot of intensity against Temple," Donovan said. "Now, with a younger team, we're facing a team that's maybe a little lesser in talent, do we take a step back or a step forward? That's what I'll be interested to see."

In the 86-69 win against Temple in Sunrise last Saturday, Florida scored more than 52 points for the first time against a team that was ranked under 100 in the Ratings Percentage Index.

"We spaced the floor better and did a better job finding the open man," Donovan said.

Though High Point isn't a top-100 RPI team at this point, the Panthers present at least one formidable obstacle in senior forward Arizona Reid, who is among the national leaders in scoring (24.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg).

After High Point, Florida will get six days to practice and prepare for its SEC opener Jan. 8 at Alabama.

"We're getting closer," said sophomore forward Jonathan Mitchell, who is coming off a career-high 15-point game against Temple. "When we came back from Christmas break, we had three pretty good, hard days of practice. We just have to keep doing that and keep improving,"

Donovan said he would like to see freshman Nick Calathes play more under control tonight. Against Temple, Calathes had 14 points and eight assists, but committed four turnovers.

"You want Nick to play with freedom and be aggressive, but at the same time, when you give someone freedom there's a level of responsibility and a level of appreciation," Donovan said.

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