Both JU, Florida See Game as a Test; Gators, Dolphins Looking for Signs of Progress in Tonight's Matchup

By Coble, Don | The Florida Times Union, November 25, 2011 | Go to article overview

Both JU, Florida See Game as a Test; Gators, Dolphins Looking for Signs of Progress in Tonight's Matchup


Coble, Don, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Don Coble

GAINESVILLE | Cliff Warren is curious to learn how much work is ahead for his Jacksonville University basketball team. Billy Donovan feels the same way about his Florida Gators.

Both may get a good idea tonight inside the O'Connell Center.

"Every game we're trying to get better," Warren said. "We're only four games in. I've got a lot of new guys. We're still trying to figure out what we do well."

The Dolphins (2-2) took a significant step during Warren's seven-year tenure as JU head coach with a stunning 71-68 overtime victory over Florida last year. It became the anchor to an 18-14 record.

The Gators rebounded to finish 29-8 and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.

Although a lot of the players return for both teams, both are working to make their three-guard, two-forward concept work.

"This is a process we're going through to create for ourselves an identity for our offense and our defense," Donovan said. "I don't feel like we have a real good understanding of what we're doing right now."

Tenth-ranked Florida is 3-1. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

The strength of both teams is the backcourts. Guards Aloys Cabell, Russell Powell and Keith McDougald combine to average 35.3 points a game. A year ago McDougald led Jacksonville's win at Florida with 18 points, while Powell had 13.

Florida has five 3-point shooters, including starters Kenny Boynton, Bradley Beal and Erving Walker. Together they score 45.3 points a game. Mike Rosario comes off the bench to contribute 12.5 points, while forward Erik Murphy adds 10.

The Gators have hit 48 3-pointers this year by making 43.5 percent of their shots. The Dolphins have been outstanding protecting the perimeter, holding opponents to just 22 field goals behind the arc at a 28.9-percent clip. …

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