Some observations following UF’s 74-63 win over Saint Joseph’s:
— An unsung hero for the Gators in the St. Joe’s win was the play of freshman forward Kevarrius Hayes, who had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 15 minutes off the bench with center John Egbunu in foul trouble. “He’s a high-motor guy with really quick feet,” Florida coach Mike White said. “He’s got a chance to be a really good defender. To see him finish plays offensively, that was nice to see as well.” The Gators may need more from Hayes defensively on Sunday to deal with Purdue’s trio of bigs, 7-2 center Isaac Hayes, 7-0 forward A.J. Hammons and 6-9 forward Caleb Swanigan.
— For the most part, Florida continues to get better valuing the basketball. The Gators only had 12 turnovers against St. Joe’s, down from 14 against North Carolina A&T and 19 in the season opener against Navy. But while senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith made some big shots down the stretch, he also hurt the Gators throughout the game with five turnovers. The Gators still wound up with a negative assist-to-turnover ratio (11-12) and will need to be more efficient to upset Purdue.
— It’s been a rocky shooting start for freshman guard KeVaughn Allen, who is just 2 of 12 from 3-point range after going 1 of 6 against St. Joe’s. Perhaps Allen is due to break out. The Gators are going to need scoring from outside because points in the paint are going to be hard to come by against Purdue’s size and length inside.