Stephen C. O'Connell Center Gainesville

North Florida Ospreys vs Florida Gators Pick & Prediction, Wed Dec 08 07:00 PM

NCAAB | BASKETBALL
TV:
Logo North Florida Ospreys
VS
Logo Florida Gators
139
OPENNER
-24.5

138.5o -110
CURRENT
-27 -107

+1318
MONEYLINE
-3356

55
SCORE
85

Florida's unbeaten start to the season seems like a distant memory in the afterglow of Monday night.

Coming off a tough road loss to Oklahoma, the 20th-ranked Gators' first defeat of the season, things got worse for Florida when it was thoroughly outplayed by previously winless Texas Southern during a 69-54 loss in Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (6-2) appears to be well on its way out of the Top 25 but will try to right the ship on Wednesday night when it plays host to North Florida.

"We were thoroughly outplayed, outcoached ... out-everything," Florida coach Mike White said.

Texas Southern became the first Southwestern Athletic Conference team to beat a ranked Southeastern Conference team since the AP poll began in 1936, snapping a run of 51 consecutive wins for ranked SEC teams against SWAC teams.

Florida was favored by 23.5 points and was 27-0 all-time against SWAC opponents before the loss.

The favorites to win the SWAC this season overwhelmed the Gators at the rim.

The Gators were outrebounded 46-23 by the Tigers (1-7). Texas Southern outscored Florida 42-26 in the paint as the hosts had no answer for forward Joirdon Karl Nicholas, who had 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting output.

Texas Southern, which played its eighth of 13 consecutive road games to open its season, shot 54.4 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range.

Brandon McKissic led Florida with 15 points, but the Gators followed up shooting 4 of 24 from 3-point range against Oklahoma by hitting just 5 of 24 against Texas Southern.

"We just did a terrible job in every aspect," said Florida center Colin Castleton, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds. "Rebounding, backdoor cuts, loose balls. Everything we did bad the coaches told us to focus on."

Florida figures to be heavily favored again vs. North Florida (2-8), which is 0-8 on the road this season. The Ospreys' two victories have come against NAIA teams -- Webber International and Edward Waters.

North Florida is coming off a dismal performance in a 76-41 loss to Florida Atlantic on Sunday, when it scored a season-low 12 points in the second half. The Ospreys went more than nine minutes without scoring, from late in the first half to the 13:33 mark of the second half.

Jose Placer led North Florida with nine points while Jarius Hicklen had eight points.

"We barely could get up shots and score the ball in the second half," Ospreys coach Matt Driscoll said. "They played with a lot of energy and a lot of purpose and came to do what they planned to do to win the game."

The Ospreys' closest game against a Division I team was a 72-63 loss at Arizona State on Nov. 15.

North Florida was held to 30.2 percent shooting against Florida Atlantic and was outrebounded 40-26 while committing 20 turnovers.

"We got to wash it out and put a good foot (forward) to play Florida on Wednesday and then quick flip to play again on Saturday," Driscoll said. "You have to continue to work and continue to fight, and we will."

Placer is averaging 11 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season while Carter Hendricksen leads the Ospreys with 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Hendricksen is shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point range while teammate Emmanuel Adedoyin is 21 of 38 (55.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
North Florida Ospreys
57
84
Florida Gators

North Florida Osprey vs. Florida Gators

Kerry Blackshear Jr. made his Florida debut a memorable one, scoring a game-high 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the new-look No. 6 Gators to a 74-59 victory over North Florida on Tuesday night in Gainesville.

Blackshear, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, added three assists and two steals. He finished 8-for-11 from the floor.

The Gators (1-0) wasted no time introducing their freshmen, playing five of them during the contest. Tre Mann was the only freshman to start, and he scored 11 points. Scottie Lewis had nine points and Omar Payne six to go with five boards. Sophomore Noah Locke scored 14 points.

J.T. Escobar led the Ospreys (0-1) with 15 points, and Garrett Sams scored 14.

The Gators, who led by 17 at halftime, added to the margin early in the second half, scoring easy buckets for a quick 6-0 run in the first 1:15. Blackshear's layup opened the scoring, and Mann and Locket followed with floaters in transition to force the Ospreys into an early timeout trailing 45-22.

The Gators led 39-22 at halftime behind Blackshear's 11 points and seven each from Mann and Noah Locke. The Gators missed their first eight shots and connected on just 37.1 percent from the floor before the break.

The Gators harassed the Ospreys into 11 first-half turnovers and 4-for-19 shooting from the 3-point line.

The Ospreys played the Gators even for the first 7 1/2 minutes, trailing just 12-10 after Josh Endicott's layup with 12:35 left in the half. But Payne helped to ignite a 16-0 run that extended the Gators' lead to 28-10 with 5:18 remaining.

Payne scored six points and grabbed four boards off the bench during the spurt. The 6-foot-10 forward factored in three straight scoring possessions during the stretch, feeding Lewis for a layup, hitting a short jumper and converting two free throws.

The Gators next await a visit from Florida State on Sunday. The Ospreys play host to Florida National, an NAIA school, on Thursday.

--Field Level Media

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