The seventh-ranked Florida Gators of the SEC are set for what appears to be an obvious mismatch with the North Florida Ospreys, members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
North Florida took on another SEC squad, Alabama, in its season opener, and that affair resulted in a 64-44 defeat. Fortunately, the Ospreys fought back strong with a 62-57 triumph over Savannah State on Monday. Give UNF a ton of credit for scheduling so many quality non-conference opponents, as the club will take on Miami and Ohio State over the next few days.
Florida opened the campaign with a 99-59 romp over Jackson State on Friday in front of the home crowd, and the Gators then hit the road for Tuesday's much- anticipated matchup with Ohio State. That showdown was competitive from start to finish, but the result was an 81-74 defeat. Billy Donovan's club competes in the SEC, and the Gators' East Division boasts three teams with legitimate national title aspirations.
The Gators have crushed the Ospreys in both previous meetings between the two teams.
North Florida managed to get past Savannah State on Monday despite turning the ball over 17 times. The Ospreys were outrebounded by a 38-27 margin, but they were able to force 23 turnovers and limit Savannah State to 34.6 percent shooting from the field. Andy Diaz scored 16 points in the affair and hit 6- of-9 shots from the field, and the forward also recorded three steals. Jimmy Williams registered 12 points off the bench, and Jerron Gransberry finished with 10 points. In the opener against Alabama, UNF put forth a miserable offensive effort, shooting just 23.2 percent shooting from the field, including a 3-of-21 effort from three-point range.
Against Ohio State on Tuesday, four of Florida's five starters reached double figures in scoring. Standout freshman Bradley Beal led the way with 17 points, and Kenny Boynton tallied 15 points. Patrick Young and Erik Murphy each pitched in 14 points for the Gators, while Young also ripped down a game-high 12 rebounds. Florida connected on 11-of-22 shots from three-point range and earned a 38-29 rebounding advantage, but the club committed nine more turnovers than did the Buckeyes and was outscored by 14 points at the foul line. In the romp over Jackson State to open the campaign, Florida managed a mere eight points from the stripe and needs to do a better job of earning trips their. Boynton led his club with 19 points in that affair.