Florida trying to get offense back on track

Florida guard Chris Chiozza attempts a lay up as Florida State guard M.J. Walker defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Ron Irby)

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.”

Up next

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


  1. They need to make better passes and actually drive the ball. Barry when he was not hot would make up for it by driving, getting rebounds, and playing within the team on both ends of the court. This “team” has not yet learned this, perhaps because coach has given them the green light thinking that their three point shooting was good enough to win, clearly is it not.

  2. ”The Never Forget Tribute Classic… supports the education of children of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.” What a righteous benefit game! And as for the Gators’ play lately, well, nothing lasts forever. Even the cold spells end eventually. Go Gators and safe travels!

  3. Against the recent zone defenses they have faced, there has been little or no movement by either the players or the ball. Guys are just standing still at the perimeter waiting for the ball to come to them and then simply throwing it back. No one is cutting through the lane to the basket, and there is no low post presence to pass into. It is very difficult to drive through a good zone defense, but if you keep the ball moving at a rapid pace, it wears down the defense at some point. Cheeze is dribbling too much and then attempting off balance shots as the shot clock expires.