Since returning from the PK Tournament in Portland, Ore., Florida’s offense has gone from dynamic to dysfunctional.
The No. 5 Gators (5-3) are looking to fix their recent scoring woes heading into Saturday’s matchup with No. 17 Cincinnati (7-1).
Florida, which returned from Portland as the leading scoring team in the nation at 99.5 points per game, has averaged just 61 points over its last two games. During that span, Florida is shooting just 36.6 percent from the field (45-123) and 18.2 percent from 3-point range (8-44), with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 14 to 25.
“We have to get in the gym,” Florida coach Mike White said. “We have to take better (ones), we have to help each other get open. If we start out 0 for 5, we have to have more mental toughness to be able to make sure we continue to keep taking good ones and continue to have confidence in ourselves. We’ve proven we can shoot at a high level, and it’s right there in front of us – step up and make shots.”
Florida has looked lethargic during its recent two-game stretch and hasn’t been averaging as many offensive possessions. The Gators are averaging 71 possessions over their last two games compared to 80.1 possessions in their first six games.
“Every turnover we forced and every defensive rebound we got, we were flying, our guys were running down the floor,” White said. “We’ve faced a couple of teams that were pretty locked in to defensive transition being a key against us.”
White said based on how the Gators shot in the first six games of the season (the Gators entered the week shooting 46 percent from 3-point range while making 11.5 3-pointers per game), he didn’t see the recent slump coming. All of UF’s perimeter players, who were hot early in the season, have cooled off at the same time. Junior guard KeVaughn Allen is just 2 of his last 11 from 3-point range. Senior forward Egor Koulechov is 3 for his last 18 from beyond the arc and junior guard Jalen Hudson is 2 for his last 11 from 3-point range.
“The only things I have that come to mind are playing at home, being a little bit amped up, your first couple not being quite as good a look as maybe you could have waited on – when you get off to a bad start and it snowballs on you,” White said. “We’ve shown clips to our guys in those regards and we’ve tried to hammer the point home, especially in the past 48 yours – your first shot, let’s make sure your first shot is a really good one. … We’ve gotten away with making a contested one or two early in games early in the season against inferior opponents, and that’s backfired on us.”
What: The Never Forget Tribute Classic that benefits the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. It supports the education of children of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Who: No. 5 Florida (5-3) vs. No. 17 Cincinnati (7-1)
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850