Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF, UNF Have Long-Range Plans; Both Teams Enter Game Comfortable Behind 3-Point Line

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF, UNF Have Long-Range Plans; Both Teams Enter Game Comfortable Behind 3-Point Line

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

UNF coach Matthew Driscoll believes this could be the best 3-point shooting team he's had with the program.

No. 8 Florida showed in its season opener the Gators are capable of hoisting - and making - plenty of threes, too.

Two teams that have connected on a barrage of deep shots early this season could put on a show when they meet Thursday night at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.

"The number of threes they take is very intelligent," Driscoll said. "Just like us - because those are the kind of players [Gators coach Mike White] has on the floor right now."

Without center John Egbunu, expected to be out until January while recovering from a left knee injury, the Gators will likely feature more lineups that try to push the tempo and fire from all spots on the floor.

That worked just fine Monday night during a 116-74 season-opening victory over Gardner-Webb, a game in which the Gators shot 15 of 29 from behind the arc.

Egor Koulechov, a graduate transfer, scored a game-high 34 points while connecting on 6 of 9 threes. Koulechov was one of four players who hit at least two 3-pointers in the game.

What's it like to be the point guard on a team stacked with shooters? Not so bad.

"It's easy," Chris Chiozza said. "Whoever is open, I'll get it to them with full faith that they're going to make it."

The Ospreys (0-3) are also feeling confident in their offense.

In what was a brutal opening weekend, UNF traveled to face No. 2 Michigan State, Michigan and VCU in the span of about 72 hours.

Driscoll said he was pleased by his team's ability to move on from each previous game and come out ready to attack the next time on the floor.

Their shooting from deep was also a positive development.

Led by J.T. Escobar's 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from behind the arc, the Ospreys hit 17 threes during a 95-85 loss to VCU on Monday.

Escobar and Ivan Gandia-Rosa have each made 11 threes through three games, and UNF is shooting 37 of 84 (44 percent) overall from deep. …

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