North Carolina A&T (1-2) at (9) Florida (1-1)
Thursday, November 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: O'Connell Center (12,000) -- Gainesville, Florida. Television: SunSports, FSN-FL. Home Record: NC A&T 1-0, Florida 2-0. Away Record: NC A&T 0-2, Florida 0-0. Neutral Record: NC A&T 0-0, Florida 0-0. Conference Record: NC A&T 0-0, Florida 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The ninth-ranked Florida Gators are clearly favored in tonight's non-conference clash with the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
NC A&T was handled rather easily by both Ohio State and Morehead State in the first two games of the season. Fortunately for the Aggies, they were able to taste victory with a 100-66 decision over North Carolina Wesleyan on Tuesday. NC A&T competes in the MEAC and would do wonders for its confidence with a solid showing tonight.
As for Florida, it opened the season with a 17-point triumph over UNC- Wilmington. Unfortunately, the Gators weren't able to handle a spike in competition level on Tuesday, as they fell to Ohio State in a 93-75 final in front of a deflated Gainesville crowd.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between NC A&T and Florida on the hardwood.
All five starters for North Carolina A&T, and six players in all, tallied double figures in scoring against NC Wesleyan on Tuesday. Thomas Coleman scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds before fouling out of that game, and Nic Simpson pitched in 16 points. Adrian Powell contributed 14 points, while both Austin Witter and R.J. Buck both had 11. The Aggies connected on 52.3 percent of their field goal attempts while limiting their overmatched opponent to 32.9 percent. NC A&T also earned a 24-12 edge in points from the foul line and a 54-43 rebounding advantage. Through three games, the Aggies are scoring 74.0 ppg while allowing 84.0 ppg. Coleman leads the team with 13.5 ppg and 12.0 rpg.
Against Ohio State two nights ago, four of the five starters for Florida reached double figures in scoring. Kenny Boynton led the charge with 21 points, and Erving Walker pitched in 15 points. Chandler Parsons tallied 13 points and Vernon Macklin added 12 points for the Gators, who connected on 61.2 percent of their field goal attempts. Florida also finished with a 28-20 rebounding advantage and a 9-6 edge in points from the foul line. With all those positives in mind, it is hard to believe that Florida lost by 18 points. However, the club committed 18 turnovers, 10 more than Ohio State, and that led to 13 fewer field goal attempts than the hot-shooting Buckeyes. In the season-opening win over UNC-Wilmington, Florida committed 15 turnovers, and it is obvious that the team needs to take better care of the basketball.
Florida will start fast and finish strong tonight. The Gators need to avoid turnovers, and they will do so against the Aggies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 79, NC A&T 54
11/18 10:42:27 ET