Nassau, Bahamas (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams playing their first games away from home get together in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday night, as the 18th-ranked Florida Gators tangle with the Georgetown Hoyas.
Florida is 2-1 on the young season, as the team opened with a 68-45 rout of William & Mary before stumbling against in-state foe Miami, 69-67. The Gators bounced back in a closer-than-expected 61-56 overtime triumph over ULM last Friday, with each of the first three games taking place in Gainesville.
Georgetown has yet to taste defeat this season, as the team has posted double- digit wins over visiting foes St. Francis Brooklyn (83-62), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (78-62) and Robert Morris (80-66). Clearly this is the biggest test of the early season for the Hoyas.
The all-time series between the two teams is knotted at 2-2, and both will be back in action on Thanksgiving taking on either Wisconsin or UAB, depending on the outcomes of games played on Wednesday.
Despite having four players, only two of which are active at the moment, averaging double figures in the scoring column, Florida is putting up only 65.3 ppg. Fortunately, the Gators have performed well at the defensive end in limiting foes to just 56.7 ppg, which they're generating behind meager shooting percentages (.371 overall, .308 3-point range). Michael Frazier leads the team with his 16.0 ppg, and he will need to continue to produce, as will Jon Horford (12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) as they make up for the absence of injured players Dorian Finney-Smith (15.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Eli Carter (14.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
Frazier was high man for the Gators in the tough win over ULM, as he tallied 21 points thanks in large part to his 11-of-13 effort at the foul line. Chris Chiozza added 11 points off the bench for a Florida team that shot just 32.7 percent from the floor for the game, which included a woeful 3-of-15 showing from beyond the arc. Fortunately, the Gators played tough defense in holding the Warhawks to 32.8 percent overall shooting. Additional factors in the favorable outcome included a 49-36 rebounding advantage, as well as a resounding 24-5 edge in points from the charity stripe.
Georgetown has a couple of standout performers as well, as Joshua Smith and L.J. Peak average 17.3 and 15.0 ppg, respectively, in helping the team generate 80.3 ppg on 50.9 percent field goal efficiency. The Hoyas have only been successful on 27.3 percent of their 3-point tries, but are playing strong defense in yielding only 63.3 ppg on typical shooting outputs of .346 overall and .293 from distance. Smith (8.3 rpg) is also the team's leading rebounder, as it owns a +9.0 advantage in that department.
Smith logged a double-double consisting of 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgetown to its recent win over Robert Morris. Peak and D'Vauntes Smith- Rivera each tacked on a dozen points, the latter also handing out seven assists. Mikael Hopkins grabbed 11 boards as well to help the Hoyas claim a 47-31 edge on the glass. The team's defensive effort resulted in the Colonials hitting just 30.5 percent of their total shots. GU committed 15 turnovers and was only 6-of-22 from long range.