Southern University coach Roman Banks believes his team can build on the second half it played at Florida.
The Jaguars outscored the 16th-ranked Gators 34-32 after halftime, seizing momentum but coming up short in a 67-53 loss Monday night.
"The second half was a tale of a different team," Banks said. "We played our way and got the ball out in transition and started attacking them. ... That's the team I like to see. I think we ended up getting them on their heels."
What really affected Florida was the loss of point guard Kasey Hill. The McDonald's All-America badly sprained his left ankle early in the second half. He spent several minutes writhing on the court in pain before being carried to the locker room. Initial tests revealed a high-ankle sprain, and coach Billy Donovan said Hill will miss at least a month.
The Gators (3-1) didn't handle the adversity well.
"Our IQ dropped a little bit," Florida center Patric Young said. "We were up 22 points and we're coming down thinking no-pass 3s, mid-range, foot-on-the-line jump shots — worst shot in basketball. And Coach is getting infuriated because we turned the ball over, getting shots blocked. So we have to do a better job when we have a lead."
The Jaguars (1-3) took advantage, getting better shots and playing better defense.
Calvin Godfrey led Southern with 18 points and nine rebounds while Trelun Banks added 12 points.
Godfrey made 7 of 12 shots and finished had two blocks.
"He's a guy that's been consistent for us," Banks said. "There's no doubt he's our best post player, our best talent. I'd like to get him some help. We've got some bigger guys that need to help him out a little bit."
Southern could have used a better start.
Hill had a layup, a reverse layup, and a runner in the lane that helped Florida build a double-digit lead early. Casey Prather kept getting in the lane and to the free-throw line, and the Gators eventually pushed the lead to 16 points before halftime.
They coasted from there, though hardly good enough to appease Donovan. He called several timeouts in the second half and even was heard screaming at Michael Frazier II in an emptying arena because he took a 3-pointer without any ball movement.
Surely Hill's injury has something to do with Florida's letdown. But Donovan said that shouldn't be an excuse.
"There's got to be some level of resiliency," Donovan said. "I can't stop the game if a guy's tired. I can't say, 'Hey, I know you're tired, but we're going to come back tomorrow and complete the game when you're fresh.' They've got to push through that and be able to discipline themselves."
The Jaguars could have made it closer but were 11 of 25 from the free-throw line.
"It's a process for us," Banks said. "We're still trying to find a leader on our team, and this game will show us where we need to go, where we need to take the ball and who will become the leader on the team."