Piscataway, NJ – Seeking their first true road win of the ranked Florida Gators head north to the Garden State to take conference showdown in Piscataway.
Billy Donovan's Gators are 10-2 on the season, but the two losses have come on the road at national contenders Ohio State (81-74) and Syracuse (72-68). Since the close loss to the Orange, Florida has reeled off five straight wins, including an 82-64 drubbing of instate rival Florida State last week in Gainesville.
The Scarlet Knights have seven wins on the season, with six of them coming at home. Rutgers enters this contest with a three-game win streak in tow, including a lopsided 77-53 victory over NJIT last time out.
The Gators have won four of the previous five meetings with the Scarlet Knights. The lone loss came in overtime back in 1972. The teams last met in 2009 in Atlantic City, a 73-58 victory for Florida.
The Gators are a dangerous team with the ability to win at either end of the floor. The team has really been impressive offensively, averaging a hefty 85.8 ppg. The scoring has not come at the expense of solid defensive play, as Florida is yielding just 65.6 ppg and holds a +7.3 rebounding margin. The scoring is balanced and spread out, with the team averaging just over 17 assists per game. Four of the five starters are averaging double figures, led by Kenny Boynton's 18.3 ppg. Boynton is one of the SEC's top snipers, draining 44.3 percent from behind the arc (43-of-97). Bradley Beal (15.5 ppg) and Erving Walker (14.3 ppg) add to the perimeter assault. Patric Young is the resident muscle in the paint. The 6-9 sophomore center is shooting .633 from the floor and averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. All five starters scored double digits in the win over the Seminoles. Beal hit four three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. Young added 15 points, followed closely by Boyton's 14. Erik Murphy and Walker finished things off with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Scarlet Knights lack the scoring depth to win a shootout with Florida. However, the team has gotten the job done this season thanks to strong defensive play. Rutgers is holding opponents under 40 percent shooting overall (.388) and is enjoying a +5-6 rebounding margin as well. Gilvydas Biruta leads the way both in scoring and rebounding with 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Eli Carter (11.3 ppg) and Myles Mack (10.5 ppg) provide the team with other options at the offensive end. NJIT was no match for the Scarlet Knights last time out, as Rutgers completely dominated, outrebounding the Highlanders, 51-28 and scoring 19 points off 18 offensive boards. In addition, NJIT was held to just 35.2 percent shooting, including a mere 5-of-20 from three- point range. Mack led four players in double figures with 16 points. Biruta poured in 15, while Austin Miller and Carter chipped in with 10 points apiece.