UF MEN'S BASKETBALL
Donovan: Gators need to show more intensity
Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 7:54 p.m.
Florida got off to a strong start in Southeastern Conference play with its 74-58 win over South Carolina at the O'Connell Center.
But Florida coach Billy Donovan still thinks the Gators need to do a better job of sustaining intensity for a full 40 minutes.
The No. 10 Gators (12-2, 1-0) won't be able to afford any lulls Saturday at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have won 23 straight at home and beat the Gators 80-69 at Bud Walton Arena last season.
Against South Carolina, Florida jumped to an early 14-1 lead Wednesday night, but both teams played even (20-20) for the remainder of the half. South Carolina cut Florida's 13-point lead to just eight points in the second before the Gators made a late push.
“We inevitably let teams, when we have them like that, get back into games,” Donovan said. “We're going to have to do something to get that resolved and corrected.”
Donovan was upset with UF's drop-off in defensive intensity in the second half. In the first half, Florida scored 15 points off 15 turnovers and held South Carolina to just 31.6 percent from the floor. In the second half, South Carolina shot 54.5 percent, with Florida forcing just six turnovers.
“It's starting to become a theme that I'm starting to get irritated by with our team,” Donovan said. “We have these moments where we sub and it's just this lackadaisical, everything is going to be OK, and there's not that level of edge and intensity that I'd like.”
Arkansas will enter its game Saturday against Florida playing with a sense of urgency. The Razorbacks (11-3, 0-1 SEC) are coming off a 69-53 loss at Texas A&M.
“In order to be great, you have to keep pursuing it,” Florida senior center Patric Young said. “You can't relax. We have to keep pushing ourselves to get better.”
Wilbekin, Prather update
Florida senior starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin did not practice Thursday and is still questionable for Saturday's game at Arkansas.
Wilbekin suffered a sprained ankle after rolling it on a drive with 2:50 remaining in UF's 74-58 win over South Carolina. The 6-foot-2 point guard from Gainesville is averaging 12.3 points and 3.9 assists this season.
If Wilbekin can't play, freshman McDonald's All-American point guard Kasey Hill would start against the Razorbacks.
Senior forward Casey Prather also was held out of practice Thursday with a swollen knee and is questionable for Saturday's game against Arkansas.